Flying Without Fear: 8 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Plane Rides

8 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Plane Rides

When you conquer your fears, you’ll feel like flying — literally.

Have you ever experienced fear of flying or plane rides? No? Well, you’re lucky, because millions of people around the world do. From temporary passing fears to all-out phobia. Not everyone bears this fear for the same reasons either. But how to get over it? Here are some tips you might find useful.

Also read: Here’s Why You Should Never Sleep When The Plane Is Taking Off Or Landing

1. Don’t fly alone on your first flight

Fly with family members or friends on your first flight to ease your nervousness. Having someone there who can give you moral support is already a comforting thought because you won’t be alone in your anxiety. Don’t be overly ambitious and seek to fly alone when you know you have a fear or phobia of flying to beat. When the time comes when you truly want to ride a plane alone, take a short-haul flight first before you attempt long-haul flights. Baby steps!

2. Upgrade your seat if you can

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to fly Business or First Class, then you know that physical comfort can easily affect your mental disposition. A seat that can stretch out into a bed, getting the first serving of the food, bigger screens, more leg room, being prioritised by flight attendants, all of these things can help you relax better. So if you have the budget, buy your way into that emotional comfort.

3. Learn the safety practices and features of the plane

The in-flight safety instructions at the start of every flight aren’t just there to encourage you to become a responsible passenger but are there to help assuage your anxiety. These safety instructions let the passengers know exactly what to do in case of emergencies and reassure them that the flight attendants and pilots are also prepared and are looking out for everyone.

The following facts are also worth noting when it comes to ensuring your safety on the plane:

  • Aeroplanes are designed to function properly even when struck by lightning. Technology has come a long way and the research behind the building of aeroplanes ensure that they can bear intense lightning damage.
  • Aeroplanes are built for extreme turbulence. In fact, severe turbulence is so rare that most pilots may not even experience them for the length of their career.
  • They are also built to withstand engine issues. They can even land safely with all the engines damaged because they’re designed to glide for as long as 120 miles. Read more here.

4. Talk to someone about it

Whether you’re talking to a friend, or better yet a therapist, talking about your fears will release some of that pent-up tension. And if you have a friend who has a fear of plane rides, helping to calm them down and think rationally can reduce triggering moments when they’re finally riding the plane.

5. Sit at the front

Just like people who easily get dizzy prefer to sit at the front of the car or bus, you’ll find more comfort sitting at the front of the plane. There, it’s not as bumpy or shaky when the plane experiences turbulence. Plus, you’ll be nearer the entrance and exit, which is more convenient when you’re making your way in and out of the plane.

6. Determine which seat is best for you

You have three seats to choose from if you’re flying Economy — window, middle, and aisle. You get to enjoy the view in the window seat, get two armrests in the middle seat and will have the easiest time going to the lavatory in the aisle seat.

If you’re flying internationally and find yourself sitting in the row of seats grouped together in the middle of the plane, you have the option of two aisle seats. Choose the seat that will make you as comfortable as possible.

7. Take advantage of in-flight entertainment

Preoccupy yourself with other things like the in-flight entertainment. This is especially useful when you’re on long-haul flights and trying to fight your anxiety. On your own screen, you can watch movies, TV shows, concerts, listen to music, play games, etc. But let’s say your plane doesn’t have in-flight entertainment, you can play games on other gadgets like a tablet or video game consoles instead. At least you’ll have the tools to get your mind off the anxiety.

8. Identify your triggers

The first step to any psychological strain is to acknowledge it and identify the triggers. As I said previously, not everyone has the fear of plane rides for the same reason. Some are afraid because they fear heights, some may fear turbulence, and others even overthink the possibility of a hijacking. There are so many “what ifs” that go inside a person’s head when their fear or phobia acts up.

When you’ve identified your triggers, you’re one step closer to facing your fears head-on. Ride the plane, take deep breaths, and just do it. Remember that avoiding it will only keep the phobia alive. Another step is to separate your anxiety from the idea of danger. Keep in mind that just because you are anxious about something doesn’t always equate to being in jeopardy. You may be scared, but you’re not in peril.

Exposure Therapy is a commonly suggested solution. This is where a person with a phobia is exposed to his or her issue and is tasked to get used to it slowly but surely until the fear is wiped away. It’s a process of normalising an experience to reduce anxiousness and panic. You can read more about this here.

Also read: 7 Seemingly Bad Travel Habits That You Should Not Be Ashamed Of

There are a lot more solutions or steps you can take to conquer your fear of plane rides. They may be effortful and draining at times, but it’s definitely worth it because the joys of travel are waiting for you at the end of the struggle.

About Author

Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Those who know Therese personally know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she does love staying at home and spending lazy afternoons or casual nights out with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.

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