How to Overcome Fear of Flying

Are you one of those people who love traveling but just cannot travel by air without having a panic attack? You are definitely not alone because so many people have the fear of flying or 'aviophobia'. Still, there are ways to keep this fear from affecting your life. You need to learn relaxation techniques, be aware of your surroundings, and plan your trip better to make things easier.

Why Are You Afraid of Flying?

In order to learn how to overcome fear of flying, you need to know exactly what makes you afraid in the first place. It may be because of one of the following reasons:

  • Media obsession: Media use panic inducing images of exploding planes to make things more sensational. Things are quite different in reality. Aircraft accidents are quite rare, and they are not always as catastrophic as you see them on news or in films. Statistics show that 95.7% of people involved in crashes survive; in fact, 76% of people survive even in the most traumatic crashes.
  • Personal trauma: Your fear of flying could be due to an unpleasant experience you may have had on an airplane in the past. This makes you associate flying with a painful experience.
  • Personal accomplishment: You may develop aviophobia after you tie the knot, have a child, or accomplish something that makes you think in a different way, like "what will happen to my child if I die in a plane crash?"

How to Overcome Fear of Flying

Knowing the underlying cause of your aviophobia will help you overcome fear of flying. Here are a few suggestions:

1.        Make a Comparison of Plane Travel with Other Modes of Transportation

Being in an airplane flying thousands of feet above ground can make you feel terrified, but you may have never thought about the dangers associated with other forms of transportation. For instance, there is 1 in 5000 chance that you will meet an automobile accident. It means you are more at a risk of getting killed while driving to the airport than flying. Similarly, you have a higher chance of dying of snakebite, food poisoning, scalding of hot water, and getting hit by lighting than in a plane crash.

2.        Expect Movements during Your Flight

Not knowing what will happen next can make you feel anxious. You may be thinking why you have to keep your seat belt on when traveling by air or why your ears feel funny through the ride. These questions can automatically make you think of the worst, but improving your knowledge about flying will help make things easier. It may feel your plane is going too fast, but it has to get to a certain speed to take off. There is a change in air pressure when the plane moves up or down and that makes your ears pop. Understand why these changes happen and you will feel less anxious.

3.        Educate Yourself More about How a Plane Works

Getting some information about the inner-workings of a plane will put you in a better position to manage your stress when onboard. Studies show that as much as 73% of people with aviophobia feel concerned about experiencing mechanical problems during a flight. Knowing why the plane is doing something special will help you keep calm. Understand that drag, gravity, thrust, and lift are the four forces that make the plane fly – reading more about these forces will give you an idea about what to expect during the flight. Also, keep in mind that there are many engines in the plane, and if one of them does not function properly, others will kick in and avoid any problem.

4.        Take Deep Breaths

Do some breathing exercises to make you feel relaxed. Keep a hand on your abdomen and inhale through your nose. Ensure that your abdomen rises as you inhale. Then, exhale through your mouth slowly to the count of 10. Repeat 4-5 times to feel relaxed.

5.        Make a Good Choice

In addition to dealing with the psychological side of your fear, you also need to pay attention to some other things that will make you feel better and help you understand how to overcome fear of flying. For instance:

  • Opt for a larger flight with a larger plane. You will feel better by avoiding smaller planes and puddle jumpers. Check the information about the aircraft when looking for flights and select a larger plane for a smoother flight.
  • Opt for a seat over the wing. If you get a seat here, you are more likely to have a smoother flight. The reason is that this area is usually more stable and does not move a lot during the flight.
  • Opt for an exit row seat or aisle seat which will make you feel less trapped.
  • Opt for a daytime flight. This may help you feel relaxed because you will be able to see better during the day and looking out the windows may even make you believe that everything is under control.

6.        Distract Yourself

What's more, you should also think about something or do something that keeps you distracted. Start thinking about something that makes you feel excited or make plans about what you are going to have for dinner. Snacking may also help distract you during a flight. Just experiment a bit with these steps and you will find a routine that works best for you.