You’re about to fly and you have no clue what’s going on. You’re not alone. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, about 1 in 10 fliers experiences some form of anxiety or fear before boarding a plane.
Flying is one of the safest ways to travel, but many people still have a fear of flying and it’s understandable. You’re sitting on a plane, thousands of feet above ground, and there’s nothing you can do if something goes wrong.
Fear of flying is a common phobia, and nobody wants to be a grouch on board an airplane. So how do you get over your fear of flying? Here are my tried-and-true tips for beating flight anxiety once and for all.
Study your plane crash history.
Before you fly, check out the history of every airline you’re about to fly with. For example, did a particular airline have a high number of crashes in the past? What types of planes were involved, and how many people died? The more you know about these kinds of things, the better prepared you can be for the trip itself.
This will give you an idea of how safe their planes are and what kind of safety measures they use. Some airlines like Southwest do extensive safety audits before they start flying, while others don’t.
One way to manage fear is by learning more about how planes work and how they are built to withstand turbulence. You can also find out more about how airplanes are regulated by the FAA, what happens during an engine failure, and how pilots are trained for situations like turbulence and emergencies.
Talk to your flight attendants.
Next, talk to your flight attendants. They’ll often know exactly what you need before they even ask — they’ve been on flights every day for years! So ask them if they have any tips or advice for managing anxiety, and see if they know anyone who’s gone through this before.
Learn about built-in safety features.
Many planes have built-in safety features that help prevent accidents during flight, such as automatic piloting systems that take over in case of a system failure or electrical issues with the engines or other systems on board.
Airplanes have several built-in safety features that can reduce the impact of turbulence on an airplane’s structural integrity when it encounters severe weather or other unusual conditions. For example, the nose cone — which protects passengers from flying debris — can be raised during severe weather conditions to prevent passengers from being injured by flying objects such as hail or sand particles; this feature is called a “hard landing condition.”
Take a flying lesson.
If you can’t bring yourself to talk to anyone about it, consider taking a lesson from an airline pilot or flight instructor. These professionals are trained specifically to deal with people who have anxiety issues and can explain things in a calm manner.
Many airports offer free introductory lessons for people who are nervous about flying solo, but it’s also possible to sign up for an online course that provides instruction and practice in a virtual environment before stepping onto a real plane.
Choose a seat that helps you avoid your trigger.
The best seats for avoiding triggers are the ones on either side of the aisle with no seat in between. If there’s a seat in between, try moving it as far away from you as possible and sit in the empty space. If possible, choose an aisle seat on one side and an emergency exit row on the other side. That way, if something happens (like being stuck in an emergency exit row) it won’t affect your ability to get out of what’s happening quickly.
Find a distraction that works for you.
If there are no other options, try creating a distraction by taking out your phone and texting someone or playing solitaire on your laptop. If those don’t work, try watching Netflix or another movie that has nothing to do with the flight itself (as long as it’s not too scary). Or play games on your phone like Candy Crush or Words With Friends until it’s time for take off again.
Going through fear of flying and stopping it is a mental process. You have to convince your mind that you are safe. To do that, you have to recognize the precursors of anxiety and be proactive with them.