news How to get over your fear of flying

All articles

How to get over your fear of flying

What can you do to calm the nerves before a flight and overcome your fear of flying? We’ve prepared this guide to keeping your cool and having a stress-free trip next time you take to the skies.

How to overcome your fear of flying in 9 steps

Step 1: Plan and prepare

Plane flying over the clouds - how to overcome flight anxiety

The first step to overcoming your fear of flying is to be prepared. Pack some Sudoku or crossword puzzles in your bag for the journey, and a good guide book to your destination. Be sure to print off your tickets or boarding cards, check your passport is up to date and leave for the airport with plenty of time to spare. Nothing is going to trigger your fear of airports and airplanes more quickly than showing up late and having to make a mad dash through the terminal.

Step 2: Know the stats

Cabin flooded with water - know the stats

Did you know you are more likely to get killed by a stray goat than on an airplane? In fact, there’s only a 1 in 11 million chance of dying when you fly. The drive to the airport is far more dangerous! The airline industry is the most carefully monitored, regulated and scrutinised transport system in the world. And pilots have hundreds of hours of flight training before they can take the controls of a commercial passenger plane.

Step 3: Educate yourself on planes

Man scared on a plane

A good way to overcome your fears – rather than pretending they don’t exist for a few stressful hours – is to find out more about flying. Understanding turbulence, for example, should help you to be less afraid of it. Essentially, the bumpiness is caused by different bodies of air mixing with each other. Even when it feels like the plane is dropping, it is never actually free-falling and is still under the control of the pilots. Also, while you might feel like the plane is dropping a long way, in reality it is usually moving only a few feet. The more you can read up and educate yourself on airplanes and how they work, the less scared you’ll be next time you take to the skies.

Step 4: Stay hydrated on board

Man with glass of water on a plane - overcome your fear of flying

While you might be tempted to order a few double vodkas or as many of those small bottles of Chardonnay as you can get away with it, consuming alcohol is a bad idea if you’re afraid of flying. While one drink might calm the nerves, too much alcohol can make you emotional and cause you to panic. We’ve all seen the movie clips and none of us want to be, or to sit next to, the unruly passenger who suddenly makes everyone else feel nervous. We recommend sticking to water instead, and staying hydrated so you will feel better both on the flight and once you disembark.

Step 5: Choose your entertainment wisely

Reading on a plane - how to overcome your fear of flying

Just as there are things you should never do at an airport, there are also things you should never do on a plane. Watching a movie about plane crashes is right up there! We recommend watching a soothing romcom instead. Or, even better, bring your own entertainment on your laptop or iPod. A few relaxing Hozier tunes should do the job nicely. Keeping yourself entertained and distracted will help the flight pass quicker, and will keep your nerves down at the same time. Puzzles and crosswords, as mentioned above, are a great way to keep your brain active and focused on something that isn’t your fear.

READ: 10 things you should never do when flying

Step 6: Make friends with the cabin crew

Cabin crew

The cabin crew are there to make your flight more pleasant and ensure you are as comfortable as possible. Making friends with the crew is a great way to distract yourself from your flight anxiety and to stay reassured. They can’t always tell who is nervous and who isn’t, so if you chat with them and let them know, they will be sure to put you at ease. In fact, befriending airline crew can have many hidden benefits. You might even be lucky enough to land yourself a free upgrade, or an extra meal!

READ: 15 ways to get a free upgrade on your next flight

Step 7: Focus on the destination, not the journey

Plane flying overhead through palm trees

We’re always being told, “life is about the journey, not the destination”. But if you’re trying to overcome your fear of flying we recommend focusing on the latter just this once! Maybe you’re heading away on your first holiday in years, or perhaps you’re off to London to visit family and friends. Try to concentrate on the destination and how happy you are to be travelling there. Start planning your weekend in your head. What restaurants do you want to try when you get there? Are there any sights you’re longing to see? How about a cocktail to toast your arrival? Stay focused on the positives and you’ll have much less time to be nervous.

READ: Catch of the day: A guide to the best seafood restaurants in Ireland 2019

Step 8: Consider an upgrade

Passengers on a morning flight waiting for in-flight service

This isn’t always possible and you will of course need to pay a lot more for your flight, but if you are a very nervous flier and are travelling long-distance, consider splashing out on an upgrade to business class or first class. The difference is incredible and it’s hard to feel nervous as an air hostess is pouring you another glass of champagne, while your high-tech seat is giving you a back massage. You’ll be handed a wine list, given real silver cutlery and maybe even a rack of lamb to feast on. Before you know it, and after the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had on a plane, you’ll have landed at your destination. An upgrade is sort of like treating yourself to a luxury hotel room for the night… Except your bed is on the plane.

READ: Cheats to turn your economy fare into a first-class experience

Step 9: Fly again, and again, and again

Woman scared, holding a paper plane

As with everything in life, they say practice makes perfect. The more you fly, the more relaxed you get. The first flight will always be the hardest, but if you can keep going, following it up with short-haul journeys, you’ll get used to all the procedures, and familiarity will help overcome your fear of flying. The rewards, by the way, are enormous – because once you’re a relaxed and confident flyer, the world opens up to you, and you can start planning a trip to one of the world’s most beautiful destinations. A lifetime of fantastic holidays awaits…

READ: 10 of the most spellbinding places on the planet: in pictures

Happy traveller - how to overcome your fear of flying

How to get over your fear of flying

Step 1: Plan and prepare
Step 2: Know the stats
Step 3: Educate yourself on planes
Step 4: Stay hydrated on board
Step 5: Choose your entertainment wisely
Step 6: Make friends with the cabin crew
Step 7: Focus on the destination, not the journey
Step 8: Consider an upgrade
Step 9: Fly again, and again, and again

Feeling more confident already? Look at all this beautiful destinations you can travel to…

11 pictures of Australia that will make you jump on a plane

We all know the Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Opera House, but what else does this expansive country have to offer?

20 Cheap Holidays from Dublin 2019

Here’s a guide to 20 of the best places to visit worldwide, and the cheapest deals for flights you’ll find for them!

10 small town in Europe you will fall in love with

These small towns sit in the most beautiful pockets of Europe. Travel to these picture perfect spots in Spain, Italy or Portugal before anyone else does for your next break.

Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.

Map