A fear of flying is not uncommon, but it can be very unpleasant. But by not flying you can miss out on holidays abroad, the chance to visit friends or relatives who live overseas and simply miss the opportunity to see the world.
Conquering a fear of flying may not be easy, but it is definitely worthwhile. Here are a few things you can do to help yourself get over your anxiety and grow more comfortable with the idea of air travel.
Know the Facts
Fears are not always logical, but for many people anxiety about flying is at least partly rooted in the idea that something bad might happen. Fortunately this is highly unlikely, and knowing some of the key facts and statistics about air travel can be very reassuring.
Commonly-used Rolls-Royce jet engines, for example, are over 99% reliable. Even if one engine should fail, the aircraft will not plummet from the sky; it will continue completely normally on one less engine and make a safe landing.
Flying is statistically the safest way to travel. Your chances of being involved in a crash are around one in 10 million.
Conquer Pre-Flight Anxiety
Sometimes the anxiety we experience before the event turns out to be the worst part. Often, people who are afraid of flying will be extremely anxious before the flight, but will actually not feel as bad once they are sat in the aeroplane and find everything is surprisingly calm and pleasant.
Try your best to not let anxiety keep you from boarding the flight. Once you are on board, you will probably feel better and once you’ve have had one successful flight, you will likely be a lot more comfortable with future journeys.
Don’t be tempted to calm your nerves with alcohol. Aircraft typically fly with a cabin altitude of 8,000 feet. This altitude results in less oxygen in your bloodstream. You normally wouldn’t notice this, but if you have alcohol in your system, you can become very drunk, very quickly, as altitude increases in flight. Excessive alcohol consumption could even lead to you being denied boarding.
Instead of alcohol, try a natural remedy to calm your pre-flight nerves, such as Kalms.
Take it Slow
Unfortunately it is not possible to completely conquer a fear of flying before you get on a plane. If your fear of flying has kept you from ever travelling by air, you are likely to be nervous about your first journey.
Don’t commit yourself to a 10-hour flight to America on your very first attempt. Have a getaway in a destination that involves a much shorter flight, such as a little domestic hop between England and Scotland. This will not only mean less time spent on the plane, but also make the prospect of flying a bit less imposing as you build yourself up for it.
There are some excellent ‘fear of flying’ courses available. Virgin run a course for £267 where you will receive a presentation from pilots, cabin crew and a physco-education session before boarding your own special flight. During this short flight you’ll receive a full commentary explaining every single noise and movement the aircraft makes. Other similar courses are available from other airlines.
Conquering a fear of flying isn’t easy, and there may well be setbacks. Don’t let these put you off flying, but you should be prepared for them. Try to think of a plan B for your return journey. This will help focus your mind on each flight, rather than being anxious about the return journey too.
For example, you could choose a quick Flybe flight from Southampton to Manchester as your first flight. If you can’t face the return, no problem, just get the train home.
Hopefully these few tips and tricks have helped you begin your journey towards anxiety-free flying. If you have any other ideas which others may benefit from, post them in the comments section below.