Flying on an airplane is one of the safest ways to travel distances. Still, many people have mild anxiety or outright fear about being on an airplane. Knowing that fear of flying is irrational is the first step to overcoming that fear.
Acknowledge Fear of Flying
Recognizing that your fear of flying is not rational is the start to being able to board an airplane. Of course, flying is not natural for human beings, and flying can cause us discomfort. But these are not reasons to avoid flying.
Often fear of flying is really a fear of losing control. Even though driving a car is less safe than flying, people do not fear driving because they are the drivers.
Learn about Airplanes
One way to have control is to educate yourself about airplanes and flying. Read a book or article about how an airplane stays in the air. A book like The Fearless Flyer by Cherry Hartman and Julie Sheldon Huffaker can tell you all about airplanes and the safety regulations for flying them.
Realize that the pilot of your airplane is a professional. All personnel on the airplane have been trained in airplane safety and passenger comfort.
Plan Ahead to Reduce Fear
Flying has its hassles. Planning ahead will give you maximum control when flying.
If you have acute fear of flying, use a travel agent. A travel agent can quickly solve a lot of the headaches of flying that add to your fear.
Things to consider in advance are your overall flying time and which airplane seat is best for you. If your fear of flying is connected to claustrophobia, buy space in business class. Think about planning a layover so you can relax between flights.
You can reduce anxiety and fear by giving yourself time. Flying is not a walk in the park. Do nothing last minute. Pack early and carefully with regard to security fears.
Be at the airport two hours before your airplane departs. Be ready to go through security.
Learn Relaxation Techniques for the Airplane
Well in advance of boarding an airplane, learn and practice ways to relax. Visualizing yourself in a peaceful place, breathing exercises, even self-hypnosis are all techniques proven to reduce fear and anxiety.
Do not plan to drink your way through your airplane experience. Alcohol and drugs like valium reduce your ability to cope with fear.
Take Care of Yourself
Dehydration when flying is a definite concern due to the dry air on airplanes, but other flying discomforts also contribute to airplane fear. Your airplane experience may go smoothly or introduce factors that increase your fear and anxiety.
On the airplane use ear plugs to counter the crying baby, eye shades to block out light. Chew gum or try the Vasalva maneuver to help with the pressurized airplane air.
Before flying, pack your carry-on with bottled water, salt free snacks, and reading material. If music helps to calm your fears, bring your ipod. Eat lightly on the airplane.
Keep telling yourself that fear of flying is irrational. Fear of flying need not prevent you from traveling. Board an airplane thoroughly prepared and let flying become a mildly inconvenient way for you to see the world. Fears begone!