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How to Overcome Aerophobia

Updated on September 30, 2013

“My fear of flying starts as soon as I buckle myself in and then the guy up front mumbles a few unintelligible words then before I know it I'm thrust into the back of my seat by acceleration that seems way too fast and the rest of the trip is an endless nightmare of turbulence, of near misses. And then the cabbie drops me off at the airport.” -- Dennis Miller

For many, the mere thought of flying in a plane brings terrifying visions of a plane crash like in ‘Final Destination.’ Bumpy take offs, landings, and little turbulence on the way send chills down my spine too. It does sound funny now but at that time, it is far from being hilarious. According to a British Airways survey, one out of every four Britons has some sort of aerophobia, ranging from slight anxiety to uncontrollable aviophobia.

All logic and common sense just flies out of window the moment shrieking wheels of the plane leave the ground. We have heard tumultuous air travel tales from people who did not find the skies so friendly. But overcoming this fear of flying is easier than you think. And trust me; delaying your air travels is not going to help. Here are some tips that might be useful for those who want to beat the fear of flying.

Face the Facts

Do not forget the statistics are always on the side of fliers than drivers. If you hold the thought, ‘statistics are no help to me’, it is time to change your judgement. Understand the fact that your goal is to overcome the fear and I have some very comforting numbers here.

  • A person is more likely to pass away from being stung by a bee than from boarding a plane.
  • Even if you fly every day, on an average it would take at least 19,000 years for you have to face an accident. 19,000 years! That is a huge number.
  • For every one hour spent in the air, the commercial aircraft have to undergo 12 hours of maintenance. How often do you take your car for servicing?
  • The training of professional aircraft pilot takes about 3-4 years and the cost is also equal to training a medical professional. And to get a driving licence, all you have to do is pass a little test.
  • Do you think cars are safer? According to the FAA, from 2002 to 2007, around 109 deaths were reported due to aircraft crashes. However, NHTSA reported 196,724 deaths in automobile accidents. So, flying is 200 times safer than driving.

The Fear of Unknown

The Fear of Unknown

When you are on a plane, what scares you the most is the fact that what will happen next. A lot of spine-chilling questions keep popping up in your mind. Why is the plane going so fast? What is this shrieking sound? Why do my ears feel unusual? What are these bumps and movements? It’s human nature to assume the worst at first. According to Fear of Flying stats, 73% of people with aerophobia are afraid of mechanical problems. And to minimise this, it’s better to first know a little about flying and planes.

I am not getting into any technical specifications but you should know a certain things. The plane needs to achieve a certain speed to take off; your ears are popping because of the temperature changes, and so on. All this happen every time you get into a flight, not because you are in the flight. If you want to get familiar with flying before boarding the flight, is a wonderful source loaded with free content. You can even listen to different engine noises during flight and a lot more. If you are still unsure, this 12 minutes clip narrated by Captain David Kistruck will definitely help you know more about the take-off and landing sequence.

Risk is Part of Life

You have seen Final Destination, right. Once you accept the fact that what will be, will be, flying becomes a lot easier. Part of being afraid is that you never know what is on the other corner and you want to control what is going to happen in future. Once you accept that risk is a part of life, things will be smooth.

Learn to Meditate
Learn to Meditate

Learn to Meditate

If getting into a plane makes you feel anxious, learn to meditate to keep calm. You do not want to feel sweaty (and stinky) for the rest of the flight. Close your eyes and think about something else that you are excited about how fun it would be once you land at your destination. Count in reverse, recite the alphabets in backwards or listen yourself breathe, all this will help a lot.

Bring Anxiety Medication
Bring Anxiety Medication

Bring Anxiety Medication

Do not let alcohol be the only option. If you are too nervous before the flight, make an appointment with your MD. Simply explain your situation and take the necessary medication with you. Taking any kind of drug not given by your doctor can make things even worse. So, use only prescribed medicines.

Flying Fear Free: 7 Steps to Relieving Air Travel Anxiety

More Tips

  • Distract yourself with the help of your IPod, magazine, novel, puzzles, or any pastime activity you like.
  • Listen to your favourite tracks before you get on the flight. It will help you relax, and calm.
  • Instead of flying solo, it would be better to fly with your friend or family member who has flown many times before.
  • Get an aisle seat. You do not want to sit near the window and observe how a plane takes off into the vast blue sky. Besides, you will also have better access to the flight attendants.
  • Avoid caffeine as much as you can as it only makes you even jittery.
  • As soon as you are on board the plane, turn on the air vents. The airflow will make you feel relaxed and less claustrophobic.
  • Try to eat a filling meal so it helps you sleep during the flight.

Flying is no rocket science, if you consider a few things. If you have more tips to recommend for fearful fliers, please share in the comments below.


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    • ameliam.michelle1 profile image

      Ameliam Michelle 4 years ago from London, England

      Surely Nina... promise good ones are coming...

    • profile image

      Nina 4 years ago

      Ameliam, sorry to say, but the quality of your hubs has declined off late. Want interesting hubs like backpacking, 7 days in london, top 9 cheapest countries etc. Hope you will do that.