How to Deal with Flight Anxiety – Tips for Nervous Flyers


Posted in General Travel Travel Insurance on 11 June 2024

Flight anxiety is a common experience, affecting about 1 in 5 people. Whether it's the confined space, turbulence, or a fear of heights, flying can be a daunting prospect for many. If you're among those who feel uneasy about taking to the skies, don't worry. Here are some practical tips to help you manage your anxiety on flights and ensure a smoother, more enjoyable flying experience.

1. Choose Your Seat Wisely

One of the simplest ways to reduce anxiety is by selecting a seat that feels most comfortable to you. For many nervous flyers, being closer to the front of the plane can help. This is because the front generally experiences less turbulence compared to the back. Additionally, sitting by the window can give you a view of the horizon, which might help if you feel claustrophobic, while an aisle seat provides easier access to the restroom and a bit more room to stretch.

2. Avoid Stimulants and Alcohol

It might be tempting to grab a coffee or a glass of wine before your flight to calm your nerves, but it's best to avoid both. Caffeine can heighten anxiety and make it harder to relax, while alcohol, although initially calming, can disrupt your sleep and make you feel more anxious later. Instead, opt for calming herbal teas like chamomile or a glass of water to stay hydrated.

3. Wear Comfortable Clothing

It might be tempting to grab a coffee or a glass of wine before your flight to calm your nerves, but it's best to avoid both. Caffeine can heighten anxiety and make it harder to relax, while alcohol, although initially calming, can disrupt your sleep and make you feel more anxious later. Instead, opt for calming herbal teas like chamomile or a glass of water to stay hydrated.

4. Stay Hydrated

Airplane cabins are notorious for their dry air, which can lead to dehydration and exacerbate feelings of anxiety. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and during your flight. Bringing a reusable water bottle can be a handy way to ensure you have access to water throughout your journey.

5. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Learning and practicing relaxation or breathing techniques can be incredibly beneficial. Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation can all help calm your nerves. Listening to a guided meditation or calming music through noise-cancelling headphones can also be a great way to distract and relax yourself during the flight.

6. Speak to Your GP

If your flight anxiety is severe, and you’re prone to panic attacks, it's a good idea to consult with your GP before your trip. They can provide professional advice and may prescribe medication to help manage your fear and anxiety. In some cases, they might also recommend a session with a therapist who specialises in anxiety or phobias, offering you additional tools and strategies to cope with air travel.

7. Keep Yourself Distracted

Distraction is a powerful tool against anxiety. Bring along things that can occupy your mind and keep you entertained. This could be a good book, a movie, a podcast, or even a puzzle game on your phone. Keeping your mind engaged can help prevent you from dwelling on your fears and make the time pass more quickly.

8. Stay Positive and Informed

Sometimes, knowing more about how flying works can alleviate fear. Consider educating yourself on the safety measures and protocols airlines follow. Understanding that turbulence is a normal part of flying and that planes are designed to handle it can be reassuring. Focus on the positive aspects of your trip, such as the destination and the activities you plan to enjoy once you arrive. Consider speaking to a flight attendant, they are not only trained on how to help nervous flyers but will also have answers to some of the questions you may want to ask.

Flying doesn't need to be a stressful experience. By following these tips and preparing ahead of time, you can manage your flight anxiety and make your journey more pleasant. Remember, millions of people fly every day without issues, and with the right strategies, you can too. Safe travels!

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This article is for information and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute advice in any way. The information provided here is correct at the time of writing however please check the latest policy wording for the latest terms, conditions, and exclusions.


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