There are ways to control and even overcome your flight anxiety. Even if you’re a really nervous flyer, you can learn to get used to flying and eventually relax completely. Let’s take a look at a few fear of flying tips that can really help you conquer (or, at the very least, ease off) your plane anxiety.
Some research suggests that an estimated 40 percent of people experience some level of anxiety when they fly, The New York Times reported. For those with a severe phobia of plane travel, the issue can result in panic attacks or make individuals physically sick. It’s also coupled with crippling thoughts.
“Anxiety when flying can be dissociating,” Nathan Feiles, a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in fear of flying,. “There is this sense of losing control. People can feel at their most vulnerable when they’re in an airplane.”
While clinical phobias like a fear of traveling require effective treatment and care through a mental health professional, Feiles says there are ways to manage or ease your worries when you’re in the air or on the move. Below are a few expert-backed tips on how to abate your anxiety:
Prepare yourself and know the facts
As they say, knowledge is power. It may help your anxiety by studying up on flying, airplanes and flight patterns. This will also help contribute to the normalization of air travel, Feiles said.
“People perceive threats due to an active imagination,” he explained. “But for example, learning about modern airplanes and how they’re built and that, say, the wing won’t break off, may help ease those fears over a period of time. If people have imaginative fears, it helps to have actual knowledge.”
Getting to know the facts and statistics always helps me through anxiety. Numbers are tangible. You can rely on them. And when it comes it safety in the air, odds are in our favor:
Numbers are on your side – Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data shows that there’s a 1 in 11 million chance of you being involved in an airplane accident. And even if you’re in an accident, 96 percent of passengers survive. That’s a fact. The important thing to know is that the numbers are always on your side. Knowing the facts can really help reduce your flying anxiety.
Facts like these:
- No plane has ever been taken down by turbulence
- A plane can handle 100x more turbulence than the highest amount of turbulence ever recorded
- Planes almost always falter during the first two minutes or final 30 seconds of a flight
Airplanes undergo extensive safety testing – Another thing to remember is that a plane will not take off if it’s unfit to fly. This just doesn’t happen. Every plane is checked and tested before each flight to ensure that nothing will go wrong. And before you start wondering, well, what about turbulence or storms that can’t always be foreseen?
No plane has ever been taken down by turbulence or a storm. I know I’ve already said this but it bears repeating. The plane you fly on has been tested, deemed fit to fly, and can handle anything mother nature throws at it!
Familiarise yourself with the plane and the noises – Knowing where the exit is and which seat you’ll be in can help calm your nerves. It’s also a good idea to know the different airplane noises. For instance: When you’re about to take off , you’ll hear a light pound from under the plane followed by a drill noise like the plane is about being repaired – is it time to panic? No, the staff is just closing the cargo hold door. If you know these sounds beforehand, you’ll be much more relaxed when you’re on the plane.
Get seats closer to the front – If you book a seat towards the front of the plane, you’ll experience less turbulence. Once again, turbulence cannot damage a plane, but it can still trigger your flying anxiety, so it’s best to avoid it if possible. And booking a seat at the front is a great way to do that.