How to overcome your fear of flying in 9 steps
Step 1: Plan and prepare
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
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
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
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
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.
Step 6: Make friends with the 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!
Step 7: Focus on the destination, not the journey
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.
Step 8: Consider an upgrade
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.
Step 9: Fly again, and again, and again
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…
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|
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