How to Overcome Your Fear of Flying: Tips for the First Time Flyer

Do you want to fly but you’re just too scared to get on a plane because of your fear of flying? If you’re looking for tips to overcome your fear of flying, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m always amazed at the people who message me about traveling but state that they haven’t traveled due to their fear of getting on a plane. Many have deep-rooted fears of flying without even having set foot on a plane. It’s like my kids, who fear and have the utmost hatred of eating and trying a new vegetable, but haven’t even tasted it yet. As someone who has a fear of heights, I know being up high can be scary, but if I’m being honest with myself, I feel much safer in the air than I do on the ground, and I tell people this all the time.

I’ve been on numerous flights, both domestic and international, and while turbulence (which is what most are wary of) can seem scary, it’s really not as bad as it seems. So how can you get on a flight and remain calm? Here are a few tips.

My first tip: Take a short domestic flight for your first run. Don’t book a long international flight until you’re sure that you’ll be comfortable, and travel with a friend to help you along your journey.

How to Overcome Your Fear of Flying

Before the Flight

Get to the Airport Early

This may seem like an obvious one, but getting to the airport early will help to ease your anxiety. There’s nothing worse than being rushed and stressed out before a flight. By getting to the airport with plenty of time to spare, you can relax and focus on your breathing.

Book an Aisle Seat

While you may be tempted to sit at the window to see the views, an aisle seat is a much better option if you’re nervous about flying. An aisle seat will give you the ability to get up and move around the cabin, which can help to ease your anxiety. And, if you start to feel queasy, you can quickly make your way to the lavatory.

During Takeoff

On takeoff, the plane will accelerate quickly down the runway. You may feel like you’re being pressed back into your seat, but this is normal. Just close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Once the plane is in the air, you can relax a bit. If you start to feel uneasy during the flight, close your eyes and take some deep breaths. The main thing is not to focus on your fear.

While In Flight

Distract Yourself

If you find yourself getting anxious during the flight, it’s important to distract yourself. Focusing on something else besides the flight will help take your mind off of your fear. Reading a book or magazine, listening to music, or watching in-flight entertainment are all great ways to distract yourself. Focusing on something else will help take your mind off of your fear. You may become so engrossed in your book or movie that you may not even notice that your flight has gone by.

Talk to the Person Next to You

If this is your very first flight, taking someone along with you will help you immensely. However, if you’re alone and you’re still feeling nervous, try talking to the person next to you. Speaking with them will help you divert your attention from the flight and they might be experiencing the same anxiety you are. Simply explain to them your feelings. You may be surprised at what they can do to help you, especially if they’re a veteran flyer like myself.

Wear Noise Canceling Headphones

Drowning out the sound of the outside world can also help. I always travel with and use noise-canceling headphones, and the Sony headphones Madison is wearing in the photo below are awesome. We’ve since upgraded to the Apple AirPods Max to keep us in sync with all our Apple products. While I like drowning out the sounds of talkative people in the seats in front and behind me, or crying infants, it also drowns out the sound of the engine outside that can sometimes make people nervous.

Don’t Look Outside

This is one of my biggest pieces of advice when flying and may seem counterintuitive, but looking outside can actually make your fear worse. If you start to feel anxious, don’t look outside. The vastness of the sky and seeing how high up you are can be overwhelming and make your anxiety worse. So, if you start to feel uneasy, close your eyes and take some deep breaths until the feeling passes.

Drink Plenty of Water

Keeping hydrated is important when flying, especially if you tend to get anxious. Drinking water will help to keep you calm and will also help to prevent dehydration, which can make anxiety worse. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages, as they can make anxiety worse.

Don’t Drink Alcohol

It’s tempting to want to have a drink or two to help ease your anxiety, but it’s not a good idea. Drinking alcohol will only make you feel more anxious and could even make you sick. Stick to water or another non-alcoholic beverage to help keep yourself calm.

Get Some Sleep

If you’re feeling really anxious, close your eyes and try to get some sleep. It may sound impossible, but it can be done. I’ve flown overnight on a red-eye flight before and managed to get a few hours of sleep despite being in the middle seat. It wasn’t the most comfortable position, but I was able to drift off for a bit. And when I woke up, we were getting ready to land. So, if you’re feeling really anxious and can’t seem to calm down, try getting some sleep. It may help the time go by faster and make the flight seem shorter.

In the Event of Turbulence

Turbulence is probably the scariest part of flying for most people, but it’s really not as bad as it seems. Turbulence is caused by changes in air pressure and temperature, and it’s perfectly normal. Turbulence is just like bumps in the road when you’re driving. It can be a bit unnerving, but it’s nothing to worry about. The best thing to do during turbulence is to remain calm and focus on your breathing. If you start to feel uneasy and anxious during turbulence, close your eyes and take some deep breaths until it passes.

Durning the Landing

When the plane starts to descend, you may start to feel anxious again. During landing, the plane will descend quickly and then slow down as it approaches the runway. You may feel like you’re being pressed forward (instead of backward as in the takeoff) in your seat, but this is normal. Just close your eyes and take some deep breaths until the plane has landed safely.

After the Plane Has Landed

Once the plane has come to a complete stop and the seatbelt sign has been turned off, you can finally relax. Congratulate yourself on making it through the flight and try not to think about the next one just yet. Flying can be scary, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be able to make it through your next flight with ease.

In Conclusion

Flying doesn’t have to be a scary experience. If you’re feeling anxious, there are things you can do to help ease your fears. From speaking with the person next to you, to getting some sleep, there are plenty of ways to make the flight go by smoothly. Just remember to stay calm and breathe deeply when turbulence hits, and before you know it, you’ll be at your destination.

By following these simple tips, you can help ease your anxiety and make your flight much more enjoyable. Just remember that millions of people fly every day without incident, so try not to let your fear get the best of you. And who knows, maybe once you’re up in the air and see the world from a whole new perspective, you’ll start to enjoy flying.

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