For a percentage of us, it’s the one part of our timeshare holiday we dread – getting there! A surprisingly high number of people are nervous about flying and the intensity of unease can vary from arm-rest clenching fear to mild anxiety. In fact some reports say between 30% and 40% of us feel uneasy about flying, in varying degrees, but the good news is that fear of flying courses have an extremely high success rate.
The problem can be so bad it prevents some passengers from being able to even get on a plane but airlines like EasyJet run special courses which can really help – so if your fear of flying is preventing you from visiting relatives or taking business trips, it’s well worth booking your place on an upcoming course and it’ll probably be more enjoyable than you think!
In the meantime, there are a few steps you can take to take the edge off your nerves on your next flight. Here are some useful pointers to “take onboard” to make your next flight a little less stressful.
- Sit at the front of the plane. Turbulence is more exaggerated at the back of the plane so it’s worth paying for a seat up at the front, in advance. You’ll also be closer to the cabin crew if you need anything. And if you hate heights, don’t sit by the window looking down at the ground far below, choose an aisle seat so you can’t see the clouds – an aisle seat makes it a little easier to forget you’re up in the air and you’ll be distracted by the comings and goings of the cabin crew serving food, drinks and duty free.
- Don’t drink coffee before the flight. The caffeine will jangle your nerves and increase your sense of overall anxiety.
- Take an mp3 player loaded with calming music or a good audio book.
Watch a film you’ve been wanting to see for ages – it’ll distract you from the fact that you’re on a flight – on long flights, a good movie can really break up the time which seems to pass so much more slowly on a long flight than in “normal life” as you’re virtually pinned to your seat and can’t move about. Extra points if it’s a comedy.
- Watch a film you’ve been wanting to see for ages – it’ll distract you from the fact that you’re on a flight – on long flights, a good movie can really break up the time which seems to pass so much more slowly on a long flight than in “normal life” as you’re virtually pinned to your seat and can’t move about. Extra points if it’s a comedy.
- If you take supplements to help you sleep, then one hour before the flight takes off try taking a natural sedative with valerian, hops and passion flower – all three herbs are natural calmers and valerian in particular can take the edge of anxiety or emotional distress. If you feel claustrophobic on planes, a sedative is a good idea for that, too.
- Keep telling yourself that flying really IS the safest mode of transport, historically and statistically. You are far more likely to die in a car crash, although it’s the unfamiliarity of flying, and the sense that somebody else is control that bothers many of us. You might only fly twice a year but the flight crew do this every day!
- Travel with a calm person.
- Get to know the cabin crew. Tell one of them before your flight takes off that you’re feeling apprehensive and are a nervous flier. They’re used to people who hate to fly and you’ll feel reassured that they’re aware of your situation. Psychologically, this can be a great help.
- If a drink calms your nerves, have one, but drinking alcohol on a flight generally is a bad idea. The altitude and cabin pressure intensify the effects of the alcohol and if you’re on a long haul flight it could double your jet lag.
- Get a mobile app for nervous flyers with exercises to do and useful tips – Virgin Airlines, for example, have one.
Last but not least, sleep is the ultimate antidote to inflight nerves. If you can get to sleep you’ll miss most of the flight – and arrive much more refreshed!