Ten years ago, I was jet-setting all around the world, flying around Europe, across to America and to Brazil and back. Fast forward 10 years, and now I prefer to endure a 12-hour drive in the car to spare myself two hours of torture on a plane. Hello, my name is Karyn and I have aviophobia. And I know I’m not alone.
Fear of flying is actually a collection of fears which include heights, turbulence, small spaces as well as loss of control and those affected by a fear of flying normally have an over-active imagination or they’ve had bad experiences in the past, both which I can relate to. Others may fear flying due to what they read or see in the media and let’s face it, it’s been a bad few months for air travel. But if you’re determined not to let your fear of flying stop you from living your life to the fullest, here are some tips for trying to overcome it:
- Plan you trip well so that you take direct flights or the quickest route possible, minimising the amount of time you spend in the air. Also plan your route so that you flying on big planes where possible.
- Pay for front or exit row seats that have extra leg room so it feels as though you have more space. Aisle seats are also good for people who fear flying because it feels less like you are enclosed.
- Flying in a plane is much like riding in a car – there are always going to be bumps so you need to expect them. If you do hit turbulence and the seat belt light turns on, remember that it’s because the pilot doesn’t want you to get hurt and it’s not normally because there is a problem.
- Pack plenty of things to keep you amused on the flight so that the trip will pass quickly. Books, video games or even watching a movie can take your mind off flying for a while.
- Consider staying up late the night before your trip or getting up early so that there is more chance you’ll fall asleep on the plane.
- Be prepared for engine noise and mechanical sounds such as the landing gear going up down or the flaps moving. These are all a normal part of flying.
- Consider using noise-cancelling headphones to block out the engine noise.
- Educate yourself on how planes fly, the facts about turbulence and what all those sounds mean, because if you understand it, you’ll probably be less inclined to fear it.
- On the plane try to avoid consuming foods with caffeine and loads of sugar which are more likely to making you feel hyper or tense.
- As much as it probably horrifies you, flying more often is a good way to ease your fear of flying. Take baby steps though and start off with short trips before you embark on a much longer one.
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