If a pounding heart rate, parched throat, sweating, anxiety, nervousness, and sheer helplessness are some of the symptoms you feel during a flight, you are amongst the world’s few percentage of population suffering from Aerophobia. The term Aerophobia denotes 'fear of flying', and is also known as Aviophobia. The condition afflicts thousands of flight passengers every year. Some avoid taking flights altogether and prefer alternate modes of transport, while some bear the arduous flight experience, often taking help of tranquilisers, sleeping pills or alcohol.
However, the fear of flying is a manageable and preventable condition, and can be successfully treated and managed by following a few simple tips. Travelling to far off destinations by flight, in a pleasant and comfortable manner, is achievable for travellers stricken with Aerophobia. Being informed, relaxation techniques, and keeping the mind occupied with something soothing or interesting, in order to divert your whole focus from the flight related anxiety, are a few ways you can overcome Aerophobia.
Check out 10 expert tips that will surely remove the fear of flying from your mind.
1. Knowledge – Learn more about the dynamics of flights, aviation safety, and aviation records. The aviation industry is still the most efficient and safest field of transport in the world. Every aviation disaster has contributed to making airline travel safer for passengers. Learn about the various safety features of an airplane such as automatic oxygen masks, seat belts, neon strips, emergency lights, indicators and instructions, door slides, emergency exits, and more.
2. Meditation – Learn deep breathing techniques, as well as mind calming and self-assurance methods to control your emotional turbulence. Arrive at the airport well in advance of your scheduled flight departure. Arrive early, check-in your baggage and relax at the airport lounge. Lounge access is easily available at check-in counters, or you can check-in online as well, in advance. Airport lounges are specially designed to offer utmost comfort to passengers with several amenities like recliners, spas, showers, televisions, newspapers, magazines, complimentary meals, tea/coffee, and so on. Spend some time in the lounge, and refresh your mind before boarding your flight.
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3. Know your crew - Inform the crew members of your fear of flight phobia. They will help you in having a comfortable flight. Flight crews of all the airlines are now trained in tackling flight panic attacks, acute anxiety, and Aviophobia.
4. Indulge in a conversation – In case you’re travelling with family members or friends, try to have a good conversation. When alone, try to initiate a conversation with your fellow passenger. Be polite, and inform him about your situation. Most passengers will understand your situation and will gleefully indulge in a conversation. Discuss your respective tour expectations, your travel plans, celebrity gossips, sports, weather, current affairs, or whatever topic that interests you. Doing so will make you feel relieved during the initial phase of your flight and will also further help you a lot in settling down for the rest of the flight duration.
5. Use in-flight entertainment – Most of the long-haul flights are now equipped with portable in-flight entertainment, complete with headphones and plenty of Hollywood blockbusters, popular TV series, games, music videos, songs and more. Some airlines like Emirates show live English Premier League matches along with NFL, NBA, Formula One, ATP matches and plenty of international news channels as well. The in-flight entertainment systems are simply a great addition to air travel. Keep your mind occupied with movies, games, and music, and overcome your fear of flying!
6. Read interesting book or magazine – Delve into an interesting magazine or an exciting page-flipping thriller. Check out NY Times’ best seller list and carry a book along to read during your flight. Focus solely on the book and enjoy the chapters without hurrying to complete them. E-book readers are also a great option. Stock your device with plenty of exciting titles and read them during your flight. Reading is a great exercise to control your mind and alleviate the fear of flying in you.
7. Get some good sleep and stay hydrated – The best way to spend a short flight duration is with a good sound sleep. Nothing beats sleeping to assuage your fear of flying. Drink water at frequent intervals and try to get some good sleep. Use sleep masks, ear plugs, seat cushions and neck pillows for a comfortable nap. You could also try listening to some soft music or instrumental tunes for relaxation.
8. Keep some snacks ready – Have some of your favourite snacks handy so that you can relish them during your flight. Carry your favourite biscuits, cookies, chocolates, cakes, chips, etc. These items will not only fight the hunger pangs but will also ensure comfort during your troubled moments. Comfort food tends to bring relief and assurance to your mind.
9. Visualise your travel expectations – Close your eyes for a moment and picture your travel destination. Imagine the things that you will do and see while travelling. Think of the delicious cuisine and dishes that you want to try. Think about the sunsets, sunrises, photography, scenery, sightseeing and activities that are included in your travel bucket list.
10. Listen to good music – Invest in a good mp3 player and a noise cancellation headphone. Load the device with your favourite songs, playlists, and plenty of soothing music. As soon as you board the flight, put on your headphones and start your mp3 player. Close your eyes and focus on the music and lyrics. Music will surely relax your frayed nerves and help you lighten the fear of flying.