I love to travel but hate to fly.
For me, the fear of flying comes from a few key factors; lack of control, fear of heights and a history of flying with other phobics.
I decided to write this post, ironically, while on a flight! I feel that I have gotten to a stage where I am not the perfect flyer but can manage flights and there are 10 things that really help.
ONE | Know the flight timings
The flight, the cabin crew and the destination are all on a timer. Knowing what happens at each stage of the flight can give you a real sense of control. On a typical short-hall flight;
– It takes approximately 30 seconds to a minute from when your plane accelerates on the runway to being airborne. Close your eyes and count backwards and before you know it, you will be in the air!
– Refreshments begin to be served at around 15-20 minutes into the flight. Get yourself something tasty!
– The plane begins it descent about 30 minutes from landing. During this time you can expect to feel a few drops and some turbulence.
TWO | Set a timer
I tried this for the first time recently and I found it to be a great comfort. At the start of the flight, the captain will always give a flight time estimation. When the plane takes off, set a timer counting down until landing. Whenever you need reassurance, take a look at the timer!
THREE | Distract yourself
I used to be a big fan of digging my feet into the floor, and gripping the armrests for dear life (in my mind, this ensured the pilots control of the plane). A wise friend pointed out that I was facilitating the panic rather than avoiding it. So I tried watching a movie, listening to podcasts and reading and quel suprise, it was a big help! Find a movie that fits in with the flight schedule and it should help to relax you.
FOUR | Get up and go to the bathroom
So as it turns out, flushing the toilet does not result in you being sucked out of the plane, who knew? This might sound like a really strange tip but its a good one. Firstly, it forces you to break your train of thought. It gives you an opportunity to stretch your legs and it passes some time. For me, being able to get up and walk reassures me that the floor is in fact, quite stable.
FIVE | Know what turbulence is
So I don’t think I will ever fully grasp the concept of a massive plane being able to get to a different country. I’ve watched plenty of videos and read about the science of flight but I am still slightly convinced that A. You never leave your country, they just change the backdrop like a film scene and everyone pretends to be French/German/Spanish/Insert Country Here or B. There are massively strong strings holding that tin can up in the air. What I have found some comfort in knowing is that turbulence is totally safe and that (in the simplest terms I have found) the air moves in waves like the ocean so it gets a little bumpy some times.
SIX | Pilots know when to expect turbulence
My good friend Isabel is an air hostess and she has made it her mission to help me with lots of reassurance. Something she said that really resonated with me was that the pilots know when they will hit turbulence prior to the flight. They tell the cabin crew to expect it at x minutes into the flight. They are in control so I feel in control.
SEVEN | Sit near the wings
As you might notice, I am not turbulence’s best buddy. I have heard that sitting closer to the wing is the point in the plane where you feel it least. To be confirmed on this one.
EIGHT | Surround yourself with confident flyers
This is something that has made a huge difference for me. Chat to people who you know are comfortable with flying and it really helps. Ask what they do and don’t like about flying and try to find out what reassures them.
NINE | Enjoy a sneaky glass of wine
I do not condone heavy drinking but one sneaky glass of wine after some airport shopping is not a bad way to begin a flight!
TEN | Enjoy landing
This sounds mental.com. If you don’t enjoy flying, how could you possibly enjoy landing? BECAUSE ITS DONE! You are nearly there! When the descent starts, you have about 30 minutes to land. At about 15 minutes, the real drops begin and I have learned to really enjoy this. You will soon be in an exciting new place or home sweet home. Either way, its done and you can relax again.
I hope that was helpful!