10 Things To Help If You Suffer from Fear of Flying (Like Me)
Fear of flying is horrible. It takes over and overshadows an upcoming trip.
I’ve suffered from a fear of flying for many years.
No matter how cheap the flight I don’t enjoy flying. I get on with it because sometimes you have to if you want to get to where you are going.
I used to be much more nervous, infact my first flight with a tour group I got off the plane and decided I couldn’t go through it. After a long discussion with the ground handling crew having been found trying to break back into the terminal I flew and haven’t looked back since.
I am now able to fly because I have a few things that help calm my nerves;
1. Fly Without Fear Book
I found reading this book, written by a pilot, very helpful. It explained the mechanics of flying and went into detail about the likelihood of things actually happening including things like turbulence etc.
This helped me understand some of the noises you can hear such as the undercarriage going up after takeoff which I found reassuring.
(Some airlines on longer haul flights have things you can listen to or watch on their entertainment system. Years ago I listened to the Qantas service which talked through what was happening, in as close to real time as possible, when taking off and landing. Again very helpful to understand the noises.)
2. Choosing My Own Seat
To help my nerves and my fears I like to sit in certain places on a plane – close to an emergency exit, although I don’t like the emergency exit itself. I also prefer an aisle seat.
Knowing I have the seat I prefer in the location I like best helps me feel calmer about flying.
I generally sit near the emergency exit rows but often not in them because you have to put all your belongings overhead for takeoff and landing and I can’t be fussed with that.
They also generally cost extra so I prefer the seats immediately before or behind them.
3. Lounge Access
I am a bit of an introvert so I can often find noisy busy places difficult at the best of times but when I have pre flight nerves it can be even more difficult.
I have a Priority Pass to give me access to the airport lounge before I fly. I find this little oasis of calm helps me relax a little bit and the reduced noise also helps too and that’s before I have enjoyed a snack or something to drink (just to be clear I am referring to tea/coffee rather than alcohol as I rarely drink alcohol).
For me having access to an airport lounge upgrades my airport experience, making it enjoyable rather than a bit of a chore.
4. Bits and Bobs
I like having my bits and bobs nearby and to hand in case I need something from my bag. That’s why I don’t like the emergency exit seats as you can’t have anything at your feet, everything has to go up in the locker.
Bits and bobs for me include chewing gum to stop my ears from popping and often a little snack as well, depending on the length of the flight, generally a notepad and pen, plus my phone, tablet and a book or magazine.
5. InFlight Entertainment
I have a playlist of calming music for takeoff which I find is helpful but I might be listening to a podcast or watching something I have downloaded.
A good film is always guaranteed to take my mind off the fact I am 30,000′ in the air!
6. Analogue Backup
If planes have to make an all instrument landing they can sometimes ask everyone to turn off all their technology because of the risk of interference.
The thought of landing with no distraction isn’t a great one so I always ensure that I have a book or magazine as backup just in case.
7. Good Headphones
Planes are really noisy and I like a good pair of headphones to shut out the noise and help me focus on my inflight entertainment.
Noise cancelling headphones are an especially good option for this reason.
8. Inflight Magazine
Despite not enjoying flying I love a good inflight magazine because it often has lots of travel inspirations and also a good business section.
I often come off a flight with a selection of photos of articles from said magazine.
9. Easy Luggage
I don’t like flying so there is no way I want to be first on the plane just so I can ensure I have my carry on luggage in the locker above me. I want to get on as late as possible and I don’t want the stress of worrying about whether my luggage will fit in the overhead locker or not so I avoid it altogether.
Easyjet offers a handsfree service where you pay a £7 and the luggage that would have gone in the overhead locker is stowed in the hold. I use this if I have a larger case but for a short trip I have a great Aerolite case that fits perfectly under the seat infront of me. This is enough for 5 days for me and it means I don’t have to stress about luggage at all.
Easyjetplus offers members the opportunity to take 2 pieces of luggage onboard but I don’t use this – my only grip with Easyjetplus is that they don’t offer handsfree as an option as well as the 2 pieces of hand luggage option.
10. Friendly Crew
I have generally found the crew on flights friendly and helpful if you treat them with respect and civility. If I have had any problems on flights wit
h groups or on my own they have always been helpful. On a recent British Airways flight to Istanbul two men were spectacularly rude to me because I would not move from my aisle seat (which I had paid for) so they could sit together. They wanted me to move to the window seat for a 4 hour or so flight.
I asked the crew if I could move away from them which the crew assisted with and when they spoke to the passengers and decided they really were rude they moved me again but this time it was an upgrade to Club Business which was a very nice surprise after such an uncomfortable experience.
Fear of Flying Course
This isn’t on my list but I did want to give it a mention. I did seriously look at taking one of these courses. There are some run from Glasgow. However, the thought of being on a plane with people that were really nervous just felt like it would make me even more nervous so I dismissed the idea.
I looked at the Easyjet Fearless Flyer course. There is a great website packed with information and options including ebooks, webinar options and online courses.