Conquer Your Fear of Flying

Did you know that one in six adults has a fear of flying? And yet flying is the safest form of transport. Yes, it’s true - well, OK, the safest form of transport is actually the escalator, by that doesn’t get you very far now does it?

A staggering 102,465 flights took off every day last year and the odds of a person being involved in a plane crash is a mere 1 in 11 million!

For the majority, the thought of jetting off on holiday is the highlight of our year. The anticipation builds just thinking about getting to the airport and onto the plane – a few hours to ourselves with a good book, or in-flight movie, and a glass of something cold from the trolley.

However, for an increasing number of people, the fear of flying is overwhelming - one in six adults has a fear of flying. A fear so great that they cannot take an overseas holiday if it involves flying.

Perhaps you dread the thought of flying and therefore cannot travel? Perhaps someone in your family flies but with fear? You're not alone.

So what can you do if you suffer with a fear of flying? 

Well, here’s some help and advice on how to cope with the fear of flying for the practical and emotional elements of flying, which have been tried and tested, the world over:

Front Row Seats
When you book your flight, book your seats. It is been proven that nervous and fearful flyers should sit closer to the front to help calm their nerves.

Early to the Airport
You might think this is odd as you’d rather spend as little time in the airport as possible, but instead the opposite is true. Arriving in good time, without the stress of being late or queuing will put you in a better, calmer state of mind.

Enjoy Your Time At Airport
These days airports are full of shops, restaurants and cafes, so make sure you enjoy your time at the airport. Take time out to relax, enjoy a mooch around the shops, treat yourself to a new book or a trashy magazines in the newsagent outlets. Stop and have a bite to eat in a cafe, or restaurant, even enjoy a glass of wine or beer – but do not drink vast quantities out of nerves as this won’t help at all, in fact excess alcohol intake will actually increase anxiety! If you’re enjoying your time at the airport, you’re not focusing on your impending flight.

Remember, planes do make a lot of noise. Strange noises can be heard upon take off and landing simply because the wheels are being stowed away or lowered, but that’s all that’s happening – it’s nothing sinister to worry about. The air conditioning units make a constant hum and toilets need flushing, so try to stay rational about the noises however difficult it may seem. Stay focused on the fact that the noises are simply pieces of machinery doing their jobs properly.

Keep Occupied
These days, few flights offer in-flight entertainment, which is why all fearful flyers should forward plan and pack something in hand luggage that will occupy them. Download your favourite films and/or TV series onto electronic devices, along with your favourite albums. Also put some classical music on too as this is very calming. Load the latest releases by your favourite author onto your reading tablet. Find a love for word searches, crosswords and Sudoku. Playing cards is good too – lots of games can be played with your fellow travelling companions which all help take your mind off the flight.

Although turbulence can seem frightening or unnerving, it’s simply the aircraft moving in and out of the airwaves. Turbulence is simply strong wing. Visualise a balloon on a summer’s day, it floats gently off and then a small current of wind takes it in a different direction, and then it resumes a sense of tranquillity. That’s the aircraft, adjusting to the air pressure and movements.

Stay Hydrated
It’s really important to stay hydrated. Once you’re through to the Departure Lounge buy a large bottle of water. Although you can buy water from the trolley, it takes a while to get around to everyone. Also, to stay hydrated avoid excess coffee and alcohol as caffeine increases anxiety levels; and remember, tea has just as much caffeine in it as most coffee.

See Your GP
If your fear of flying really is just too much you should go and see your GP. Your Doctor should be able to give you some breathing exercises to help you stay calmer during your flight. It may also be that he can issue a prescription for mild medication that can help with stress levels.

Airline fear of flying courses
Many airlines run fear of flying courses, including Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Without Fear, British Airways’ Flying with Confidence and easyJet’s Fearless Flyer.

Happy Thoughts
And finally, think happy thoughts! Relish in the whole reason for going – whether that’s to see distant relatives, to meet up with friends, to explore a foreign city, or simply to relax and unwind on a beach!