We all know them. Perhaps you’re one yourself. A fearful flier. Just the idea of arriving at the airport makes you clench your fists and sweat profusely. However, let’s face it pretty much everyone has some level of fear when it comes to flying.
Personally while I loathe the airport check-in process, I am a complete and utter dork for air travel. Ever since I was a wee lad, I remember flying with family to places like California, Ireland and Florida with fond memories.
There have been some flights that have turned my face a lighter shade of white due to crazy turbulence and rough landings. But a fear of flying has never been an issue with travelling. Let’s face it I probably would be a lousy travel writer if I could not get on a plane.
Sadly though many people face an extreme fear of taking to the sky and it leads to not seeing more of the world. So how can someone that just admitted he has no real fear of flying give advice on the topic? I’m married to a fearful flier.
It’s true, the travel obsessed Noo Yawka’s wife is someone that would much rather hit the road or take a train then fly if possible. But I have been able to get her on a plane (ex: our European honeymoon, Las Vegas getaway and a visit to see her family in Poland). But if we could take Amtrak or hop in our car instead of heading to JFK, she’ll jump at the opportunity.
But as I travel more and more for a living and plan to bring our son to many places far away, she realised her fears would need to be dealt with or else they’ll be a lot of family vacation pictures by the Eiffel Tower and Great Wall of China with her photo shopped in.
So here are five tips for fearful fliers.
- Turbulence isn’t that bad: One of the biggest “oh my god” moments people encounter on-board is when a plane hits turbulence. Think of turbulence like bumps in the road. Yes they make the plane shake, but chances are you’re fine. If possible, book a seat in front of the cabin as turbulence is stronger in the back of a plane.
- Stay busy: Just sitting and staring at the back of the seat in front of you is going to drive you insane if you’re scared of flying. Luckily we live in an age of distractions. Watch an in-flight movie, play with your iPhone or flip through a book. Just come prepared with some things to do that will keep you occupied and not thinking of the worst case scenario.
- Avoid coffee or other decaffeinated beverages: Downing a large coffee from Starbucks before taking off is not the best idea as the caffeine will leave you in an overly hyper state of mind and just increase your frightened state of mind. However do not avoid liquids either as it has been proven dehydration can lead to one becoming anxious as well. Many recommend a glass of wine, and I know many that have enjoyed a glass at the airport bar before boarding. Just don’t arrive to your flight loaded as that might make others around you fearful fliers for other reasons.
- Breath in, breath out: Sounds like a no-brainer right? Well I’m not advising you remember to breathe when flying. But you should take in deep breathes and breathe slowly to help ease the stress.
- Get help: If all else fails, there is always help. One such way is by visiting the Fear of Flying Help Course, which assists with lowering stress before heading to the airport by educating you on just how safe air travel truly is.
If you’re still not unsure of going up in the air. I’ll leave you with this…your chances of being involved in a plane crash are about 1 in 11 million. On the other hand, your chances of being involved in a deadly automobile accident are 1 in 5,000. In other words, there’s a far greater risk driving to the airport than actually getting on an aeroplane.