10 Tips for Fearful Flyers

Fear of flying affects many people. If you’re among them, chances are you’ve found yourself imagining the worst possible outcome more than once while seated and ready to go. While it’s true that there is always a small risk when you board a plane, there is risk in literally everything we do—even walking down the street. It’s important not to let fear take over. Consider these 10 tips for fearful fliers: 

1. Control the things you can.

We don’t have a lot of control over life, but there are some things we can take charge of more than others. For an advanced booking, reserve your seat online and have the privilege of picking a seat you want—preferably toward the front so you can be one of the first people off.

2. Download fun movies, shows, and music.

Leave the heavy drama and horror movies out of it and get ahold of anything that entertains you, thus distracting you. When your favourite reruns or repeat footage of the royal wedding are getting more of your attention than the fact that you’re flying, you’ll thank yourself.

3. Talk about your fears with a doctor or therapist.

It can be helpful to talk to someone before your flight if your anxiety feels unmanageable. A professional might prescribe something to calm you, or offer advice. The only thing you need to accomplish in the air is relaxing, so seek support if needed.

4. Eat something and drink water.

Don’t skip food. Eat something substantial, without too much spice. Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. If you’re not on medication, a glass of wine can help soothe your nerves. Just don’t overdo it.

5. Text family and friends.

Text your friends and family before boarding. Any supportive, friendly contact you receive before take-off can raise your spirits and get you in a more positive, less worried mindset.

6. Close your eyes, relax, and breathe

Once you sit, try relaxing all your muscles and taking a deep breath if you feel the stress mounting. Learn some breathing exercises in advance that you can use as a tool if needed.

7. Socialize with the person next to you.

If your seatmate is someone you know, and someone you can talk to, try tending to your social side. If it’s a stranger, perhaps making a new friend, at least temporarily, will distract you.

8. Walk around.

Don’t sit for the entire flight. Not only is it healthier for you to get up and get the blood flowing regularly, but you’ll feel less crowded in if you move a little. Trips to the bathroom are good.

9. Give yourself a soft landing.

If you’re the type of person that is comforted by understanding how things work, learn about the take-off and landing sounds. Otherwise, listen to music to take your mind off it, and bring gum to prevent ear-popping.

10. Get to the source of your fears.

We’re all afraid of different things for different reasons. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Finding the right solution for you means understanding yourself. What is it that scares you? Mechanical failure? Or lacking control? Resist overanalyzing, but knowing your own thought process can help.

Above all, enjoy your trip!