You rather take any other mean of traveling than an airplane, but not only for ecological reasons? Then I might know quite well what you mean. I personally had times, when I rather traveled 13 hours or more by bus to avoid flying. But it hadn’t always been like this and luckily for some years, I have truly enjoyed flying again.
Here are some easy steps that helped me to overcome my fear of flying and which might be of help for you too.
- Take your time to properly address your fear
The most important thing is that your take your time to “admit” to yourself that you have this fear already before your flight. The strategies to overcome it will help you to jump onto the plane without many or even any feelings of anxiety. The best starting point is to “unmask”, where your fears come from. Mines were rooted e.g. in probably even exaggerated stories of turbulent flights which unfolded all their power on me when I found myself in two quite bumpy flights. Thus, ask yourself when you have had these negatives feelings for the first time and/or who did influence you in that regard. Then try to analyse those circumstances and ask yourself how objectively “justified” your related fear is.
- The relation of fear and danger needs to be properly balanced in our perception.
Fear is not bad in itself. It does also protect us. But fear should always have a reasonable relation to the danger. And if you just booked a flight here are some good news : Congratulations, concerning your safety you choose the best mean of traveling! Here some related stats.
- Identify the aspect of flying you are most afraid of and address it.
My fear was mainly connected to landing. The best advice I could get, was to observe landing planes. When some years ago, I was waiting (more than uncomfortably) for my flight at a bigger airport, I observed how aircrafts landed every minute – safe and sane. After watching them for more than half an hour, I could convince myself that there was also a very high probability that it would “work” with my plane too… Thus, if your fear especially relates to landing or departure, please benefit in a similar way from your waiting time at the airport. Mostly likely you will have best view on the runway from some airport café or restaurant (while even enjoying a nice snack)!
- Talk to experienced fliers
You are neither afraid of departing nor landing, but you just really don’t like turbulence? Then it might be especially helpful for you to talk with well-experienced fliers and to ask them how they deal with such “bumpy moments”. What helped me a lot was the simple fact that I had more and more friends who had to fly very, very frequently for professional reasons. As they didn’t seem to have turned into ‘nervous wrecks’, in the end flights – from an objective point of view – couldn’t be that grueling… Please don’t forget either that pilots have regular trainings and tests on all the possible troubles that could occur during a flight – so that you can feel safe in their hands.
- Ask your flying partner to distract you with stories that will capture your attention!
If you don’t fly alone, then simply ask your flying partner to distract you with some fun stories in the moments that will challenge you most. And if you are traveling alone, help yourself e.g. with good music and literature. But rather choose slow music as fast rhythms inspirit your anyways quite “awaken” pulse!
- Go… with the flow.
When turbulences come up, let your body sway with the movements of the aircraft. If you tense it instead, you unconsciously try to “fight” them – unsuccessfully, which will most likely even worsen your situation. Rather enjoy the movements – as (and here let’s recall the safety stats of flights) they are no reason to worry! What will help you too is to focus on the beauty, we are surrounded by when flying. I also tried to remember myself over and over again what a gift it is to live in times when traveling has become so easy. How great is it to have the privilege to enjoy landscapes from above when getting from one place to another – a thing that humankind had tried unsuccessfully for so many hundreds of years!
And finally, here is a little foretaste of what you should be able to enjoy much better the next time you fly! – Impressions from a pilot at our HTD photo exhibition “Beauty from Above. Perspectives from a Pilot“.
Have a very pleasant flight! (ger)
In the Internet you will find many other helpful advises. One that HTD particularly liked was a fun online training developed by an experienced pilot. Please note however that professional support will be the most effective and maybe only way to overcome your fears of flying, when you suffer from a serious case anxiety related to flying (especially when they go along with physical complaints or panick attacks!).