How to Overcome the Fear of Flying: 5 Tips

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Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Tuesday January 31, 2023

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The fear of flying is a common anxiety that affects around 25 million adults in the United States alone.  Aerophobia is a real condition and shouldn’t cause you shame or embarrassment. 

Recently, a flight attendant went viral for kneeling in an aisle to comfort a panicked passenger. Whether for work or visiting loved ones, flying is necessary to get where you need to go quickly. Fear makes this much harder on you and a panic attack could lead to an in-flight emergency. 

Thankfully, there are ways to make the experience easier. Here are five ways to overcome the fear of flying. 

1. Learn Your Triggers

Often, anxiety and panic revolve around triggers. One of the best ways to conquer your fear of flying is to learn about the flight that triggers you. You might be able to do this on your own or require a therapist’s help. You need to identify what about flying causes your anxiety. 

For many people, it’s the fear of a plane crash. Others don’t like the idea of feeling trapped for the flight. Some people are anxious about a high-jacking or another violent event. These concerns are valid and pinpointing them is the first step to overcoming them. 

2. Educate Yourself

For most, flying involves elements of the unknown. One way to calm your worries about flying is to get educated on the process of flying–from when you get to the airport to when you land at your destination.

Learn about the worst-case scenarios and what measures are in place to protect you and other passengers. Research how the plane you are on operates and the policies airlines have in place for maintenance and pilot care. 

Many flight attendants and pilots post videos on websites like YouTube that explain things from their point of view. As odd as it may sound, watching documentaries on plane disasters could help if they explain what went wrong and the new measures in place to stop it from happening again. 

It is also worth taking flying lessons from a certified instructor where you can feel in control of the situation as you learn the inside knowledge of operating a plane. 

3. Control What You Can

Unless you’re flying the plane, there’s not much you can do to control your flight. That seems scary but can be relaxing once you learn to control what you can. 

Some things are relatively controllable. You can control what time you get to the airport, what you pack and whether or not you check a bag. Other things possible to control are what section of the plane you sit in, what time you fly and which layover you have. 

You may not be able to control all of this in emergencies, but focusing on what you can make you feel better about the flight. 

4. Bring Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Loud noises can increase anxiety. Your mind gets overwhelmed by the sounds of other passengers putting away their luggage, babies crying and the constant chattering. You can’t expect any less, so preparing is the best way. 

Noise-canceling headphones can reduce the noise on a plane, helping you relax. You can play your favorite music or soothing sounds to relax throughout your flight. Bring an eye mask and pillow to try and sleep during your flight or hook the headphones to a computer or tablet and watch a relaxing show. 

5. Talk to a Professional

Aerophobia is a serious condition that could need treatment by a mental health professional. There’s no shame in talking to an expert who can help you navigate the situation and healthily handle your anxiety. 

There are various in-person and virtual therapists, and you can navigate databases online to find who might be the right fit for you. 

Handling Flying Fears

The fear of flying can be hard to conquer, but taking the right measures can help you conquer and face those fears so that you can travel confidently in the future.

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