Flying Doesn’t Have To Be a Bumpy Ride
While a clinical diagnosis of aviophobia – fear of flying – is rare, about 40% of people admit they have some anxiety associated with air travel. Worst-case scenarios aside, people worry about lost luggage and delayed or canceled flights. On the more intense end, some dread claustrophobia, engine malfunction or exposure to germs.
Some people choose not to fly, opting for destinations accessible by road or rail. But that’s not always practical or possible.
Nervous air travelers can try some of these tactics to alleviate travel-related distress.
Learn about the aircraft and its normal but seemingly mysterious knocks and noises. For example, turbulence is common, and planes are designed to accommodate such episodes. Technology can help pilots predict turbulence. If it can’t be avoided, the pilot can often alert passengers that some bumps are coming.
Research airplane safety features and emergency protocols. Statistics show that flying is safer than driving, so you can breathe easy since cabin air is constantly refreshed.
Chat up flight attendants. They’re your best source for support and safety information. The fact that they fly so often is a testament to air travel safety.
Choose an aisle seat to feel less closed in and more in control of your situation.
Bring entertaining inflight distractions. These can include a good book, soothing music, crossword puzzles, or a movie downloaded on your phone or tablet.
If you’ve tried all the usual advice and the thought of flying still makes you anxious, consider talking with a mental health professional who may suggest a fear-of-flying class or provide additional ways to help you stay calm during your flight.