Aviophobia, or fear of flying, is actually quite common. About one in every six adults fears flying to some extent. This can be for many reasons. Maybe you don’t like tight places, heights, loud sounds, crowds or a lack of control. Whatever your reason is, you’re not alone and it is possible to fly without anxiety!
What you should know is that air travel is one of the safest modes of travel in the world second only to elevators and escalators. In fact, your chances of an aircraft accident are around 1 in 11 million – not very likely. Alternatively, your chance of being involved in a car accident are as high as 1 in 5000 (especially if you’re juggling your coffee, makeup or iPhone, ladies!).
Airplanes are built to be able to handle much more stress then that which occurs in normal flight – including extreme turbulence. Unfastened seatbelts and falling suitcases, rather than crashes, are responsible for 99 percent of turbulence related injuries.
Having a fear of flying is nothing that should keep you from your travel dreams. Imagine relaxing on the beach in Santorini, tasting the best wine in Tuscany or shopping in the most fashionable Parisian shops. There are many ways to ease your anxieties and make flying much more enjoyable. Try some of these tips and book your dream trip sooner rather than later!
Don’t hide it
If you fear flying, don’t suffer in silence. Telling your flight attendants or the passengers around you can help ease your anxieties and they will be more apt to check in on you and let you know what is going on. While we’re not insisting that you bust out your megaphone from your high school pep rally days, it’s nothing to feel embarrassment over and you deserve to feel supported.
Reserve a seat close to the front
Try to reserve your seat ahead of time or at check-in to get a seat closer to the front cabin. Not only might you catch a glimpse of the cute pilot, but turbulence is lessened closer to the front of the plane. Also, while you’re getting used to flying, try to book short flights to start with on the biggest planes that you can.
Keep yourself occupied
Bring along a good book, watch the in-flight movie or try to solve a puzzle. Anything that keeps your mind busy and not focused on flying can really help.
Bad news: that iced, non-fat hazelnut latte with cinnamon dolce syrup is not your BFF. Caffeine will increase your anxiety and keep you from being able to relax. Don’t sabotage yourself. Instead, try drinking non-caffeinated drinks to stay hydrated.
Listen to good music
Whether you choose soothing meditative sounds or your favorite playlist, good music can distract you and ease your mind. You won’t find yourself attributing normal flight sounds to impending doom. Invest in some noise cancelling headphones – you won’t hear anything, and no one will know that you’re listening to the Spice Girls on repeat.
If you need more help than provided by these tips, see Capt. Tom Bunn, he is an airline captain and licensed therapist with 40 YEARS of experience. Check him out at http://www.fearofflying.com/ for more help on how flying works and how to control feelings of high anxiety and panic.