Have you ever felt like the stress and anxiety of an upcoming flight weighed on you? Now imagine you are also dealing with the fear of flying!
Don’t worry, though; you’re definitely not alone! After all, the whole ordeal until you board a plane can be extremely overwhelming, and adding the fear of flying on top of that is just horrible.
The anxiety associated with flying can be a lot for most of us, even the most seasoned travelers. Sometimes you just can’t control what your mind does, even if you’ve done it tens of times before!
Here we have prepared some tips and tricks so you can not only manage your stress but also your fear of flying to the best of your ability.
From learning how to make the pre-flight process as easy as possible and how to minimize the stress of checking in to dealing with the fear of flying while on the plane, read along to find out about all of these and more!
What is the fear of flying?
Fear of flying, also known as aerophobia, is actually an anxiety disorder that manifests as an intense and uncontrollable fear or panic when it comes to flying or when knowing you are going to board a plane.
It’s nothing to laugh about, as if it is really severe, it can trigger panic attacks, but if you are scared of flying, know that it is quite a common disorder, so you are not alone.
A lot of people with mild forms manage to keep their anxiety when flying in check by getting informed about what flying actually entails, learning some meditation tricks, or making sure everything is in order.
The comfort of knowing you did everything to ensure nothing went wrong can do wonders for anxiety. Read along to find out what we recommend you do before you get on a plane, to make your experience as seamless as possible.
What we recommend
We split our recommendations into two: what you can do before your flight is scheduled, how to make sure the check-in formalities go by like a breeze, and what you can do while on the plane!
Before you fly out
Despite what most may think, the flight doesn’t start when you reach the airport! It starts right after you buy your tickets, and the stress of it all settles in a few days before the flight.
Your at-home preparations are part of the flight, and believe us, if you have everything arranged before you set off to the airport, your fear might seem more manageable without the additional stress!
Planning ahead will definitely ease any headaches you may end up having from a landslide! Some of the most important things to know are how you will get to and from the airport back to your house:
whether you will be driving there (and then make a schedule, leaving you enough time to not have to rush over) or if you are going to take an Uber, the bus, or go with a friend.
If you do plan to drive to the airport, keep in mind that airport parking can end up being quite pricey. So, look into all your alternatives, before committing to one plan! As long as you plan ahead, there’s nothing to fear!
Another thing to consider if you are flying internationally would be to check their currency.
This means either having some currency enhanced already, for some on-the-spot purchases before you get to a bank in that country, or to make sure your cards are going to work there with no additional fees.
Money can end up being a big stressor. Likewise, check your phone’s plan, to make sure if it’s better to add an international option or if buying a SIM card in that country will be better.
Check Your Baggage Allowance
There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport and realizing your bags are too heavy. Make sure you weigh your bags beforehand, so you don’t have to deal with the stress of taking stuff out of your bags and, let’s be honest, the embarrassment that comes along with it.
Likewise, make sure you know what you can take up in the cabin with you if you don’t have a checked suitcase, so you won’t have to throw away any liquids or other items on the spot!
Depending on where you are flying to, you will need to have two very important things with you. And here we are talking paperwork.
The first one is a form of ID, so you can pass through security easily. It needs to be an official photo ID, so if you are just flying inside the country, your driver’s license is going to do the job. Just make sure you have it with you and that it hasn’t expired.
Otherwise, if you plan to travel internationally, make sure your passport hasn’t expired before you set off.
Also, make sure you check the immigration status of the country you are going to: you may need a visa to enter, or, if you don’t, you may end up needing to make sure your passport doesn’t expire in the next 6 months after you come back.
The second one, which is really important, is to get some sort of travel insurance or medical insurance if it is on an international flight.
No one knows what can happen, and it’s good to know that if your trip is canceled unexpectedly, you will be able to get your money back. And the medical insurance is self-explanatory: if you have a medical emergency, it will generally cover the medical expenses.
Check-in Before You Get to the Airport
Yep, you can do that! You would be surprised just how many people who don’t fly that often don’t know that some airlines let you check in even up to 24 hours before your flight.
This can come in handy in so many ways, whether you don’t have a checked-in bag, which will just save you time at security, or if you do have it, as it would take less time to actually hand it over.
Believe us, there’s nothing to fear when checking in online: the connection is safe, and you get to print your boarding pass at home! Or save it to your phone if the airline has a designated app.
Or do both, just to be sure! There’s nothing better than relieving the fear and stress of possibly forgetting your ticket at home.
When you are at the airport, you have to keep a few things in mind that will make your experience so much better (and help you manage any fears that you may have).
Firstly, make sure you have your identification and tickets on hand, be it in a zipped-up pocket of your bag or jacket, or anywhere it’s handy. The worst thing is having to search through packed bags for those few papers you need to go through security.
Not only will it save you time, but it will also let you know they’re somewhere safe. Avoid keeping any important documentation in your checked luggage: you never know when it might get lost.
Secondly, make sure you check the status of your flight and find out where the gates are as soon as possible. Knowing where to stand and where to go to do your check-in is crucial, in both keeping yourself organized and also saving time.
It will also bring you some peace of mind. You will be able to go through security easily (and you should also do that as soon as you can) and not be one of those tourists that runs around the airport aimlessly.
Lastly, make sure you have all your electronics fully charged before you board. Not all aircrafts are that new or well equipped with USB ports, and you wouldn’t want to end up with no battery on a long flight.
To make sure you don’t have to run around the terminal to find an outlet it’s good to have a trusty power bank with you! Just remember you cannot use it on the plane!
During the flight
You can make sure you ease your fear by making your flight experience more comfortable.
From dressing comfortably to making sure you know what you have to do, there are a lot of ways to ease flying anxiety and fear, especially if you know you can keep everything under control by yourself.
Dressing up comfortably and hydrating during your flight are some of the most overlooked steps when it comes to flying. No one cares what you’ll be wearing during your flight, as long as you are decent.
So there’s no need to have to wear tight jeans for hours at a time when you could have chosen looser fits that will end up being more comfortable. Not to mention, if your clothes are less constrictive, you will not feel as panicked!
Listening to the pre-flight security procedures will also help you not feel stressed and ease your fear. All the flight attendants are well trained, and they will know what to do whenever something arises.
That’s why you don’t have to panic when the explanations start; any scenario they talk about has a small chance of happening. However, it is good to know what to do in the event of an emergency.
Can you get over this fear?
Despite what you may think, you are not alone when it comes to the fear of flying! There are so many people that are anxious when it comes to having to get on a plane.
Whether it be because they do have aerophobia or because they have other phobias that can be associated with a plane, such as claustrophobia (the fear of closed spaces) or even acrophobia (the fear of heights).
Or you could just be an anxious person in general. There are some steps you can take, besides trying to make yourself as comfortable as possible, as we described before.
You can also make sure you know what there is to know about planes and the whole process, as a lot of people find it eases their flight anxiety to know the process and safety measures in place.
Others like to distract themselves by talking to their travel partner, listening to music, or reading a book (the last option might not be for you if you get motion sickness).
Something else, just making sure you are in the best seat for your anxiety. It may just do the trick: getting the window seat might help you with getting distracted by watching the scenery or the clouds.
While the aisle seat might be ideal for you if you hate heights, as you won’t have to look out the window, and you will be able to walk around once it is permitted, which can help you not feel so trapped.
Make sure you make your flight as comfortable as possible, without thinking you’re acting weird, as fear is nothing to joke about.
But if nothing seems to work in easing your anxiety, maybe it would be time to see a professional about it, as they could help you manage your phobia and even get you a diagnostic for it!
Speaking of flying, you’d be surprised just how these items will make your trip abroad so much easier!