How To Get Over Your Fear Of Flying

By Madison White on March 28, 2019

It’s no surprise that flying scares many people. You, and probably a hundred other people, squish into this metal object that then launches into the air going hundreds of miles an hour. You may be thinking, “So many things could go wrong” and begin to list them off: weather, engines, other flying objects.


1. Do your research

Many people hate flying because they really don’t know much about it. How exactly does a plane launch into the sky? Learning about how planes work, alongside the rules and regulations can really put you at ease about the flying experience.

No other transportation industry has faced as much scrutiny and regulation as the airline industry. Airplanes are thoroughly tested and contain multiple back-up features in case of emergency. Pilots go through huge amounts of training and testing before they fly commercially.

It is also helpful to look at the actual statistics. The odds of dying in air transport (which includes things other than commercial flying) is just 1 in nearly 10,000. If you compare this risk to other risks you take on a daily basis, like driving a car or walking down the street, you’ll realize that your fear is not so rational.

Understanding what turbulence is and why it happens can also make it seem less scary.

2. Be prepared

Sometimes, the most stressful part of flying isn’t the actual flying, it’s all the airport stuff beforehand. Having a stressful time checking in and going through security can set you up to feel more anxious about flying than you should be.

It is crucial that you feel confident and prepared before embarking on your journey. You should be sure that you know which airline you’re flying, what time the plane boards and departs, which terminal to go to, how many bags are allowed and whether or not you need to check them.

You should also be prepared for the security guidelines that most airports follow. You should have all your liquids in small containers and in a clear plastic bag. You should avoid wearing any jewelry or belts otherwise you will be flagged by the sensors. Having difficulties checking in and going through security can make flying seem scarier than it actually is. Remember that if you ever have any questions or doubts, the staff members around are always there to help you.

3. Consider medication

Depending on your medical history, you may already have medication for anxiety. If you do, you should continue taking anxiety medication before or during a flight.

Some people will take sleeping pills on long flights. This allows them to catch up on some sleep and not have to be conscious during most of the flights. If you have taken sleeping pills before and they consistently work for you, then taking on a plane may be a good idea. However, if you are not a consistent user of anxiety medication or sleeping pills, it is not advisable that you take them for the first time on a plane. The conditions of the plane may mess up the effects of the medication and actually end up making your journey more difficult.

4. Distract yourself

One of my biggest triggers of fear when flying is listening to the loud engines. Hearing them drone on makes me start questioning if they’ll just fail all of a sudden. Distracting myself usually helps me feel less nervous about this. I am always listening to something, whether it be music, a podcast, or an in-flight movie. It can also be helpful to do things like play games on your phone or read a book during a flight.

It is important to note the limitations of entertainment on a plane. Some planes will come with entertainment consoles and outlets while others will have nothing. You may be relying on your phone for quite a while, so make sure it is fully charged ahead of time. You should also make sure that your apps will work in airplane mode. Things that require the internet will not work in flight and even if you decide to purchase in-flight WiFi, it is not usually reliable.

Other people can also be a great distraction. If you are able to, try and sit near someone who makes you feel calm, especially if you know that they aren’t afraid of flying. Having a conversation may put your mind at ease and help you forget that you’re thousands of feet aboveground.

If you are travelling alone, here are some helpful tips for being the most prepared you can be.

Ultimately, figuring out how to conquer your fear of flying may take multiple attempts. I have flown more than I can count, but still get a bit anxious. Being scared of flying is totally normal despite the risks being very low. Just remember to not let your fears dictate how you live your life.

Madison graduated with her Master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester (UK), and holds Bachelor's degrees in English and Creative Writing from Wichita State University. She currently teaches English at Wichita State University and works as a freelance writer and blogger on her website Madison White Writes and elsewhere.

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