As someone who is basically petrified of flying, it surprises me that I haven’t wrote a blog post about this sooner. Not that I will ever let it stop me going anywhere. Fortunately I’ve still managed to calm my tits enough to travel to many places in Europe as well as the Philippines and Thailand. One thing I’ve learned in this process, is there is not one thing that works. I’ve managed to keep my fear of flying in control quite a bit recently, and this is by using a number of different techniques I have learned from different sources.
Before you go
Preparation is always key, and having a fear of flying is no exception. There are a few bits you can do to ensure that you minimise your anxiety before you go.
Track your flight for a couple of weeks
This is a brilliant technique I learned from the book ‘Soar’ and reading this blog isn’t going to completely rid you of your fear of flying, so I couldn’t recommend buying this book and reading the whole thing more highly enough. If you don’t get round to it, one of the things that helped me massively was to track my flight for a couple of weeks before I left.
The idea is, that you see days and days of data, which include your flight getting smoothly from A to B with no issues. I know what you are thinking – what if something does go wrong? You’ll be terrified to get on a flight ever again. Well can I let you into a little secret? I’ve done this at least the last ten times I have flown, and it has never happened. Try it and weigh up how it helps. There are loads of websites like Flightradar that will not only let you track your flight, but see how many planes there literally are in the airspace at any given second. Last time I went to the Philippines, I couldn’t begin to tell you how happy it made me to see that little green line every two weeks before I went.
Play seat raffle
If, like me, you basically have quite a high functioning fear of flying where you still go, you will probably have quite a good idea of where you need to sit to keep stress levels to a minimum. If your seat isn’t available when you book – don’t give up. Keep an eye on the seats, because someone could easily move or decide not to fly, who is in the seat you want. Check online every couple of days to see if you can get a better seat.
Book a lounge
It still shocks me that so many people don’t know about airport lounges. Most of them range from £20 – £30 pounds per person, and as well as unlimited free food, drink and magazines, you get a much quieter environment than that of the terminal. Most of them also have private toilets, and the Skyteam lounge at Heathrow even has a Clarins spa. I don’t know about anyone else, but one of the things that makes me anxious is the fact that I need to wrestle 37 other people to try and find a seat in the terminal and pay a months wages for a mediocre meal in Wetherspoons with prosecco so cheap it tastes like it’s been filtered through an Italians shoe. The lounge not only offers all of the amenities one could want in an airport for free, but it also a certain amount of peace and quiet.
Pack hand luggage well
There’s nothing worse than being on a flight bored and with nothing to do. Long haul – fabulous! Unlimited alcohol and as many films as you could ask for. Short haul, not so much. If you are scared of flying, the chances are you will seriously need to distract yourself while you are on the flight. Most streaming services will now give you the opportunity to download things to watch online, so immerse yourself into a Netflix series to kill the time.
Try and stay awake
This probably sounds so counter-productive right? If you are asleep, you won’t even know you are on a plan and life will be fabulous! Amen to knocking yourself out with the Diazepam the Doctor gives out for fear of flying like sweets and a couple of Gins. All well and good for that specific occasions, but what you need to remember is, if you are unconscious for every single flight you take, you will probably need to do it all the time. You won’t experience all of the thoughts and feelings of flying, and essentially, you won’t ever get over your fear. If you need to take something to relax, completely understandable, but remember if the worst does happen you’ll be navigating an emergency situation off your tits. Try more natural remedies like meditation.
Let people know of your situation
There’s not really any reason for you to be kicking about in a massive badge that says ‘I’m scared of flying’, but telling some of the staff what situation you are in, especially if you are travelling alone, can really help. I’ve been on a flight a couple of times, with Etihad and Qatar, completely on my ones to the Philippines, and as soon as I have told the staff on board I am scared of flying they make a point to check on you. It’s also worth telling the person next to you, so they don’t wonder why you are smashing the alcohol on board at 5am.
Fly upper class
You may also want to give some thought to flying upper class if you can afford it. Then you can have a flat bed and go to sleep whenever you want, comfortably. It may sound expensive, but companies like Virgin have some great deals you can check out.
After the flight
After the flight, you need to fully remind yourself how well it went, and how much the anticipation was worse than the flight itself, so that you can remember that for the next one.