How to Overcome Flight Anxiety Before Your Next Vacation

School’s out and summer is around the corner meaning vacation season is officially here! Whether you’re celebrating a graduation or just wanting to get away, the summer is the perfect time to plan a trip. When it comes to vacations, flying is one of the most popular ways to travel. It is also, unfortunately, one of the scariest ways to travel. More than 25 million people suffer from some sort of flight anxiety. Despite how frightening flying can seem, it’s actually safer than any other form of transportation.

Being 30,000 feet in the air, confined to a tiny seat inside of a metal bird is bound to make anyone a bit nervous. The safety video, although very informative, doesn’t do much to quell anxieties. It may seem like there’s nothing you can do to get over your fear of flying. But there are ways to make your experience less stressful and more exciting.

Learn the facts

Familiarizing yourself with some facts about flying before getting on the plane is one of the best things you can do to calm your nerves before flying. Try to stay away from articles on plane crashes or malfunctions. Although plane accidents do happen, the odds of a person actually dying in a plane crash are 1 in 205,552. When compared to the odds of dying in a car crash, 1 in 102, flying seems like the more appealing choice. Even if your plane does crash, 95 percent of all plane crashes have survivors. Knowing the facts might not stop the anxiety itself, but you can relax a little knowing that there’s an extremely small chance that the place will crash.

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Get to the airport early

Arriving to the airport early applies whether you experience flight anxiety or not. Checking in, going through security, and finding your gate can take hours, especially for an international flight. But getting there early can give you time to walk around the airport, find something good to eat or read and watch the other planes take off safely. Most airports have bars or restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages if a glass of wine can calm you down. But be sure not to go overboard because the airline does have the right to keep you from boarding the plane if you get too drunk and it’s not recommended for first time flyers. 

Tell your flight attendants

Your flight attendants are trained to help you feel safe and secure during the flight. Don’t be afraid to let them know if you’re a little anxious to fly. Many times you can even speak with the pilot and seeing that there’s actually a human being controlling the plane should put you at ease. The flight attendants will check on you throughout the flight to make sure you’re alright and they might even sneak you extra snacks.  They can also help you get through some pretty rough turbulence, going so far as to hold your own or even distract you as the plane moves through bumps and dips.

Learn your anxiety

Some people’s flight anxiety manifest itself as motion sickness, for others it might be a panic attack. It’s important to know beforehand how to manage your anxiety so you can be prepared. If it’s your first time flying it might be a little hard to know how you will react but you can still do some preparation. Make sure you pack any anti-nausea medicine or a nausea bracelet. If sleeping through the flight is the only way you can deal, then bring some melatonin to help you sleep. Bring music or books, anything that can help distract you from the flight itself. 

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Let’s be honest, flying can be scary and there’s no guarantee you’ll have the same experience every time you fly. It’s important to remember that planes are routinely checked and tested for malfunctions and pilots are continuously trained.  Most accidents that do happen, are based on human error and don’t have anything to do with the functions of the plane itself. Flying can actually be really exciting once you get over the initial fears. If you’re feeling brave enough, grab a window seat and view the world from beyond the clouds.

Jordan Bennett

"You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen." - Michelle Obama

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