Fear of flying, also known as aerophobia or aviophobia, is more common than you might think. It's a normal fear, and I used to be one of those people who dreaded boarding an aircraft.
The idea of soaring 35,000 feet above the Earth's surface in a 350,000-pound tube, with no control over the situation, filled me with anxiety. But I decided enough was enough, and it was time to tackle my fear head-on. Here's how I overcame my fear of flying and how you can do it.
Understand Your Triggers
The first step in overcoming your fear of flying is understanding what triggers it. For me, it was the lack of control and the fear of turbulence. I decided to research and educate myself about aviation.
Learning how airplanes work and how they are designed to handle turbulence made me feel more in control and less anxious. Understanding the root cause of your fear is essential, as it helps you tailor your approach to overcoming it.
If the thought of a long-haul flight terrifies you, don't jump straight into it. Start small by taking shorter flights that last only an hour or so. This approach allows you to become accustomed to flying and gradually overcome your fear.
I followed this advice and began with short trips, which made a difference in building my confidence.
Become an AvGeek
Becoming an aviation enthusiast, or "AvGeek," can be a powerful tool to overcome your fear of flying. I was amazed at how much comfort I found in learning about the science of flying and how airplanes operate.
Understanding flight mechanics can help you dismiss irrational fears and focus on the facts. Even communities and resources are dedicated to aviation enthusiasts, which can provide valuable insights and information.
Speak to the Crew
One effective strategy is to engage with the airline crew. They are professionals who understand the ins and outs of flying and can provide you with valuable insights. From safety checks to taxiing and takeoff, hearing about what goes on outside the main cabin can help you feel less at the mercy of the unknown.
If you have any friends or family members working as pilots or flight attendants, talking to them can be incredibly reassuring.
Choose Your Seat Wisely
The choice of your seat can significantly affect your flying experience. If you suffer from claustrophobia, selecting an aisle seat can help alleviate this fear by giving you more space and the ability to move around the cabin as needed.
Many airlines allow you to pick your seat assignment before the flight, so take advantage of this option.
Join a Frequent Flyer Program
Collecting airline miles and joining a frequent flyer program can open the door to more comfortable travel experiences. First-class and business-class cabins offer extra comfort and space, making your flight much more enjoyable.
I've redeemed miles for a first-class experience that made me forget I was on a plane. Starting to accumulate points and miles can put you on the path to experiencing luxury travel.
Mind What You Consume
Your choice of food and beverages can affect your anxiety levels during a flight. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and high-sodium foods before and during your journey, as they can increase anxiety and heart rate. Opt for a relaxing movie or soothing music instead of action-packed films or thrillers, which can heighten stress.
In conclusion, overcoming a fear of flying is a journey that requires understanding, education, and gradual exposure. With determination and the right approach, you can conquer your fear of flying and enjoy the wonders of air travel. I did it, and so can you. Which of these have helped you? Let us know in the comments!