Holiday season is well and truly upon us, and while for most of us this brings a sense of excitement – for others it only brings anxiety. This is usually down to the method of transportation – flying.
Even though we’ve been told hundreds of times that flying is one of the safest ways to travel, for many a fear of flying makes any excursion an anxiety-inducing experience.
If you feel anxious and nervous about flying, there are steps you can take to make it a more relaxing experience. Take a look below for some practical tips.
Before you fly
Learn how planes work
Knowing what to expect can take away some of the fear, so try to learn some of the basics about how a plane works. There’s no need to go into great detail here, but having a simple understanding of the mechanics can put your mind at ease.
Get to know the plane you’ll be on
Find a picture of the plane and cabin you’ll be in when you fly and familiarise yourself with it. Try having a picture of the cabin on your computer desktop for a while before your trip – by the time you get on the plane, the environment will be familiar to you.
Choose an aisle seat
If you tend to feel claustrophobic on planes, opting for an aisle seat is recommended. You won’t feel as ‘trapped’ and will be free to move around the cabin more.
Avoid news stories about planes
Avoid any aeroplane disaster movies and stories in the news. Try to remember that for every crash that’s reported, there are thousands of flights that land safe and sound – it’s just that these don’t make the news!
At the airport
Airports can be busy and disconcerting. To minimise this, leave yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and find yourself a quiet corner to relax and think about what you’ll do when you get to your holiday destination.
Tea, coffee and caffeinated soft drinks can make you feel more anxious. Stick to herbal teas and water to help you stay refreshed and relaxed.
On the plane
Meet the crew
If you have time, ask to meet some of the crew and/or the pilot. Chatting to people who fly for a living can put your mind at rest. This will also create a friendlier environment and should help to relax you.
Listen to some music
Calming music can really help to relax you. Alternatively you might want to try noise cancelling headphones – sometimes the noises of the plane can be off-putting to nervous flyers, so you may appreciate the sound of silence.
Read or watch something funny
Take your mind off the flight by getting engrossed in a funny book or film. You could also bring along some games to keep your mind occupied.