Afraid of Flying? 7 Tips to Help You Ease Pre-Flight Anxiety

Plane in the sky | Allison Joyce/Getty Images

For those who have a fear of flying, there are some steps you can take to help ease anxiety. While not everyone has an intense fear of flying that leaves them paralyzed, most people experience some level of discomfort when it comes to air travel. Whether you have a general fear of flying or the thought of getting on a plane brings on extreme anxiety, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are ways you can overcome added stress and prepare mentally for your next flight.

We spoke with the experts at FlyHome LLC, an innovative program founded in 2013 by Captain Tim Griffin as a way to help passengers embrace the joy of flying. Griffin knows that many passengers feel anxiety or fear toward air travel, so he created a program to relieve a traveler’s anxiety and allow them to feel safe and confident before their next trip, utilizing experienced pilots to fulfill the needs of each of their pre-flight weather briefings, fear of flying courses, business or vacation travel programs, and even in flight consultations.

“It doesn’t matter if this is your first flight or you’ve flown dozens of times, traveling by plane can be a scary experience for many folks,” said Griffin. “Our experienced pilots and training program will help you conquer your fears and give you the confidence you need for your next flight.” FlyHome LLC is with you every step of the way, offering several one-on-one programs that go over many topics, including the physics of how a plane flies, what to expect during takeoff, what turbulence is and how pilots avoid it, how pilots avoid collision, sounds that are common on aircrafts, weather and how it affects flights, what to expect during landing, and many other common questions and concerns.

Because anticipatory anxiety is the number one issue with most fearful flyers, the only way to overcome it is by gradually learning to feel more comfortable during flight, so beforehand, you will have less to worry about. Here, Capt. Griffin gives us steps we can take to prepare mentally and physically for air travel.

Before you leave

A rainy forecast could turn into this in a few days |

Don’t check the weather more than two days out from your trip, as this causes a large amount of anxiety, should the flyer see a percentage for rain or storms. The truth is it is not that accurate that far out, anyways.

Pack early, because rushing around packing the night before while you are already anxious will only fuel the fire.

Exercise and avoid caffeine, as exercising can help minimize the effects of anxiety, while caffeine can increase the effects.

Be prepared for security. At the airport, the TSA security is an anxiety increaser, but not if you’re prepared. Take off all jewelry, remove all items from pockets, take belts off, all prior to getting in line. Put all the items in your carry-on bag, so that you’re not rushing to remove everything while everyone behind you is waiting. It’s the little things, both prior to arriving and once you’ve arrived, to the airport that will help alleviate stress.

Once you board

Passengers on a plane | Thinkstock

In addition to exercising these habits prior to getting on the plane, try making these steps common practice after you’ve boarded, as well.

Introduce yourself to a flight attendant as soon as you board the plane, letting them know you have an intense fear of flying. In doing so, the flight attendant may give you special attention, checking up on you frequently during the flight.

Keep the window shade open, and look out to the far distance at the horizon. The body can play many tricks on you if you don’t have any visual references as to whether the plane is climbing, turning, or descending. This is the same reason why pilots are trained to fly the plane with sole reference to the flight instruments. If flying in the clouds, the pilots have to fly the plane with reference to the flight instruments to avoid these same feelings.

Open up the air vent, letting air flow so you don’t feel enclosed. When you hit turbulence, you will be OK. The plane is built to withstand turbulence. Rest assured that the pilots are up front looking to change altitude or course, as well as reducing the speed of the plane. The constant changes in engine volume are normal – this is the plane’s speed changing to lessen the effects of turbulence.