Do you wish you could travel to faraway places and see the world, without having a panic attack? If you have aviophobia, or a fear of flying, there are ways to make that fear less negative in your life. You can search for information about flights, use relaxation techniques, and make travel plans to overcome your fears and freely explore the world. Here's one fact you can remember: the odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million. That means the chance of an accident occurring while you are flying is only 0.0001%.
Part 1 of 5: Equipping Yourself with Aircraft Knowledge
Step 1. Know that planes are very safe
Knowing the statistics may not really save you when the plane takes off. However, when you know that flying on an airplane is very safe, you can feel more comfortable on the flight and on the way to the airport. In fact, flying by plane is very, very safe. By far, planes are the safest means of transportation.
When flying in developed countries, the odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 30 million
Step 2. Compare flight safety with other hazards
There are many other experiences in life that you may never think about twice. As it turns out, some of those experiences are more dangerous than getting on an airplane. The dangers listed below are not to make you anxious, but to show that your worries about flying on an airplane are unfounded. Study these statistics, record them, and recall them when you start worrying about what's going to happen on the flight.
- The probability of dying in a car accident is 1 in 5,000. This means that the most dangerous part of your flight plan is the trip to the airport. Once you get to the airport, breathe a sigh of relief because you've made it through the most dangerous part.
- The chance of dying from food poisoning is higher than a plane crash, which is 1 in 3 million.
- The odds of dying from a snakebite, being struck by lightning, scalded by hot water, or falling out of bed are also higher than in a plane crash. If you're left-handed, using special right-handed equipment is also riskier than boarding a plane.
- The chances of dying from falling while climbing the stairs into the plane are actually higher than when the plane is already flying.
Step 3. Don't be surprised by the movements and sensations during the flight
A big part of being afraid is not knowing what will happen next. Why are planes so fast? Why do my ears feel different? Why do the wings look weird? Why are we required to continue to wear seat belts? When we are in an unusual situation, our first instinct is to assume the worst. To minimize anxiety, learn as much as you can about aviation and how airplanes work. The more you know, the less worried you will be. Here are some things you need to know:
- The plane must reach a certain speed in order to take off. That's the reason you feel the plane is going really fast. Once the plane is up in the air, you won't notice its speed because there's no more friction with the ground.
- Ringing in the ears when the plane ascends or descends due to changes in air pressure.
- Certain parts of the wing do move during flight. That's very normal. These control wings are designed to push air when the aircraft is moving so that it can be maneuvered.
Step 4. Know what to expect during turbulence
Turbulence occurs when the aircraft passes through an area of low pressure to an area of high pressure, which makes you feel a "shock". Turbulence can be likened to driving on a rocky road, it will not make the plane crash and crash.
In rare incidents of turbulence causing injury, it usually occurs because the passenger in question is not wearing a seat belt or is injured by baggage falling from overhead storage. We've never heard of a pilot injured due to turbulence. That's because pilots always wear seat belts
Step 5. Learn a lot about how airplanes work
You can also study how airplanes work to understand the dreaded process. Studies show that 73% of people who are afraid of flying are actually afraid of mechanical problems that can occur during flight. So the more you know about how airplanes work, the calmer you will be on your journey, rather than wondering "Why is this plane like this?" or "Is that normal?" Here are some things you need to know.
- There are four forces that work to make an airplane fly, namely gravity, pull, lift, and push. These four styles are balanced to make flying feel as natural and easy as walking. There are pilots who say that "Airplanes are the happiest place in the air". You can read the science of these four styles if you want to increase your knowledge about aviation.
- Jet engines are much simpler than car engines or even lawn mowers. In the very rare event of a failure of one engine, the aircraft will still function properly with several other engines.
Step 6. Calm down because the airplane doors will not open during flight
You can also shake off the fear that the plane door might open in mid-air. The door is designed to open inward first so that the cabin pressure (usually over 11 psi or 75,842 Pa) must be overcome before the door can open. Once the plane reaches an altitude of 30,000 feet or 9,144 m, there is 9,000 kg of pressure holding the doors closed.
Step 7. Know that the aircraft is regularly maintained
Airplanes undergo many repair and maintenance procedures. For every hour of flight in the air, the aircraft undergoes 11 hours of maintenance. This means that if your flight is 3 hours, the plane has gone through 33 hours of maintenance to make sure everything is working smoothly.
Part 2 of 5: Coping With Anxiety
Step 1. Overcome general anxiety
You can deal with flying anxiety by taking conscious action to manage general anxiety. First, identify your anxiety. How did the anxiety start? Are your palms sweaty? Are your fingers tingling? By recognizing the signs of anxiety, you can apply early treatment to control it.
Step 2. Leave what you can't control to the pros
Many people are afraid of flying because they are not in control of the situation. People who have a phobia of flying usually believe they will not get into a car accident because they are in control. They sat in the driver's seat. Thus, they can accept the risk of taking a car rather than taking a plane. On a plane, someone else is in control, high in the sky, so the lack of a sense of control is one of the scariest things about flying in an airplane.
Many people experience anxiety because they don't have control over stressful situations
Step 3. Try relaxing exercises to reduce anxiety
Include anxiety-reducing exercises in your daily schedule. When you practice when you're not anxious, you already have the tools to help when you're anxious. Then, you will be more in control and calm yourself. Try yoga or meditation to reduce anxiety in life.
It's important to remember that it can take several months to fully get over and control your fears and anxiety
Step 4. Try relaxing the muscles
Start by paying attention to muscle groups that are tense or stiff, such as the shoulders. Usually, when we are nervous or anxious, we raise our shoulders and tighten the muscles.
Take a deep breath and lower your shoulders. Feel the muscles relax. Then, try this exercise with other muscle groups such as the facial and leg muscles
Step 5. Use guided visualization
Think of a place that makes you happy or comfortable. Imagine you are in that place. What do you see, smell, feel? Focus on every detail about the place.
There are several guided visualization recordings that can be purchased or even downloaded to help you practice
Step 6. Take a deep breath
Place one hand on the stomach. Inhale deeply through the nose. Breathe in as much air as possible. You will feel your stomach expand, not your chest. Exhale through your mouth, counting to 10 slowly. Tighten your stomach to push out all the air.
- Do this exercise 4-5 times to relax.
- Remember that breathing exercises may not produce sufficient relief. Some recent research has found no measurable benefits.
Step 7. Distract
Think of something else that you enjoy, or at least that will take your mind off your fears. What dish would you like to cook? If you could go anywhere, what place would you go? What will you do there?
Step 8. Follow the training
In fact, there are exercises that can help you overcome your fear of flying. Maybe you need to pay some money, but such training exists. There are two types of training, the first is face-to-face, the second is self-paced training with videos, written materials, and counseling sessions. Face-to-face training helps you get used to flying with exposure to airports and flying with a training leader. However, the desensitization gained from this training may not last long, unless you fly a lot.
- Try to see if there is such group therapy in your area.
- Self-training lets you control the process. Since you have the material in your hands, you can continue to train yourself by studying the material over and over again.
- Some trainings offer group telephone counseling sessions at no additional cost.
- There are trainings that place participants in flying simulators. This simulator mimics the experience of flying without leaving the ground.
Step 9. Try learning to fly a plane
Face your fears by taking flight training. There are so many stories of people who lived their whole life fearing something, then one day had to face it. Later, they discover that the object of fear is nothing to be afraid of. One way to conquer a phobia is to enter a situation that you know safe. When it comes to learning to fly an airplane, you are in the hands of trained professionals.
With the guidance of a patient instructor, you may find that flying is not at all scary. An approach that can be considered extreme, but is one way to relieve anxiety
Step 10. Don't read too much about plane crashes
If you want to keep your cool, don't obsess over the reported plane crash. News like that won't make you feel any better. On the other hand, it will only add to the anxiety of a less likely event. If you're already anxious about getting on an airplane, don't indulge that fear with news.
Also avoid movies about plane crashes or scary flights, like Flight
Part 3 of 5: Book Airfare
Step 1. Choose a direct flight
Even if you don't have complete control once you're in the passenger seat, there are things you can do beforehand to reduce worries. Choose a direct flight to the destination. The reason is clear. The shorter the time in the air, the better.
Step 2. Choose a chair near the wing
Passengers who sit here generally experience a smooth flight. The area near the wing is more stable and less affected by extra movement.
Step 3. Choose a seat beside the aisle or in the exit row
Choose a chair that makes you less trapped. Try an aisle seat or one in the exit row.
Step 4. Choose a bigger plane, if you can avoid small planes or propellers
When searching for airline tickets, you can find information about the aircraft to be used. If you can choose a bigger plane, choose that one. The bigger the plane, the smoother the flight.
Step 5. Choose a flight during the day
If you are afraid to fly at night, choose the daytime. Sometimes, you will feel better because you can see out the window and everything around you. Maybe you'll be more anxious in the dark because it feels like you're facing the unknown.
Step 6. Choose the path with the least turbulence
You can check it on the Turbulence Forecast site, which provides the section with the lowest turbulence. If you're planning to take a transit flight, see if you can choose the path with the least difficulty.
Part 4 of 5: Prepare to Fly
Step 1. Visit the airport at another time
Some people suggest going to the airport when you're not planning to fly. Relax sitting in the terminal and familiarize yourself with all the activities there. It might sound like an exaggeration, but it's one way to make you feel more comfortable with your upcoming flight.
Step 2. Arrive early
Get to the airport early so you have time to familiarize yourself with the terminal, go through security, and find the boarding gate. If you're late, or don't have time to mentally prepare, you'll feel even more anxious when you're seated on the plane. Familiarize yourself with the atmosphere of the terminal, the people coming and going from the airport, and the atmosphere of the airport as a whole. The more you get used to it, the better you'll feel when it's time to board the plane.
Step 3. Get to know the flight attendants and pilots
Once you get on the plane, say hello to the flight attendant or even the pilot. See how they are neatly uniformed, ready and busy at work. Pilots receive specialized training as do doctors, and they are people you should respect and trust. If you train yourself to trust them, and understand that they are competent and think about the comfort and safety of passengers, you will feel better.
Pilots have hundreds of flying hours. They must have logged 1,500 flight hours to apply for a major airline
Step 4. Don't anesthetize yourself with alcohol
Many people ordered a lot of wine or liquor as soon as the flight attendant passed beside them. However, this is not a long-term solution to flying anxiety. Alcohol actually makes you feel more anxious because of less control. Alcoholic beverages should be avoided if you're worried about having an emergency exit from the plane.
- Getting drunk will only make you more anxious, especially after the effects of the alcohol wear off.
- If you really need to calm your nerves, try a glass of wine or beer instead.
Step 5. Bring snacks
Distract yourself with a snack that can be eaten for a long time, or enjoy your favorite cake.
Step 6. Indulge in celebrity gossip magazines
You may be too anxious to do your Chemistry assignment, but of course your brain can still be told to read the latest celebrity scandal.
Step 7. Get on the plane ready to sleep
There is a suggestion that you should get up very early on the day of departure. So you can sleep during the flight. What better way to pass the time than sleeping?
Part 5 of 5: Cooling Yourself in the Air
Step 1. Take a deep breath
Inhale slowly through your nose. Then, exhale slowly to a count of ten to remove all the air from your lungs. Repeat as often as needed.
Step 2. Squeeze the armrests
If you are anxious, especially during takeoff or landing, squeeze the armrests as hard as you can. At the same time, tighten your abdominal muscles, and hold this position for 10 seconds.
Step 3. Wrap the rubber band around your wrist
Snap when you're anxious. A jolt of pain will bring you back to reality.
Step 4. Bring in media distractions
If you can find a way to distract yourself, you'll feel better when the plane is in the air. Bring a magazine or download an episode of a favorite series you want to follow, and watch it on your laptop. You can also try playing games. In addition, you can bring your office work or schoolwork.
Find whatever method works for you. Think of time in the air as regular time to do something you want or should do, not idle hours full of anxiety
- Once you have a strategy to beat your fears on flight day, fly as often as you can. Once you get used to it, flying is no longer a scary experience and more like a part of your daily routine. You will feel calmer during the flight. When you can choose between traveling by air or by land, choose air to overcome fear. Remember, flying is safer than driving a car.
- Bring a nausea bracelet and hangover tablets in case you get airsick.
- Remember, the captain knows what he's doing. Trust the flight crew. They've flown a million times. Good luck!
- Try not to look out the window during takeoff and landing. Try thinking of something else, like your plans once you land. Don't daydream a lot because you still have to be alert in case of an emergency.
- Don't dwell on stressful situations, such as "What if the plane crashes?" or something. Think of something you like. For example, take a notebook to draw or write with.
- Crouch down in a brace position when landing if you are too scared. This position protects you from impact. The brace position is always used in emergency landings. However, if you're scared, try it when you land.
- Accept that you cannot control certain situations, such as flying. Risk is a part of life. You never know what could happen. Fear is actually anticipation, worry, and the desire to control what lies ahead. Once you're more comfortable with the principle that what happens has to happen, flying won't pose a threat to your peace of mind.
- When flying, take whatever is entertaining, but also makes your brain think. One good way is to think about if you could go anywhere, what place would you choose and what would you do there. However, if this doesn't work, try to think about where to go and what you're going to do when you get there safely.
- Try to distract yourself from your fear by watching a movie or sleeping.
- When taking off, count from 1 to 60. By the time it reached 60, the plane was quiet in the air.