Wondering how to get over your fear of flying so you can travel for work? Try these ideas.
Traveling for work has a glamorous reputation, one that includes piling up frequent flier miles, sitting in first-class, and lounging before flights in private airline clubs. But, for some Travelers, flying isn’t glamorous at all. It’s terrifying. Are you one of many wondering how to get over your fear of flying? August 19 is National Aviation Day, which makes it the perfect time to tackle your aerophobia.
See below for details on where the fear of flying comes from, as well as ideas for getting over your own fear.
Where Does Fear of Flying Come From?
While fear of flying seems to come out of nowhere as a flight draws near, there are actually 4 common causes.
First, you may have had a poor flying experience previously. Perhaps your last flight included a serious bout with turbulence, or maybe it ended in a rough landing. These types of experiences can stick with you — and make you fearful of getting back on a plane.
Second, you may have heard someone else’s story about a poor flight. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who was on a flight that lost cabin pressure — triggering the drop of oxygen masks from the ceiling. While this is a rare occurrence, the FAA reports the deployment of oxygen masks an estimated 2,800 times across a 40-year period.
Third, you may have a separate issue that triggers your fear of flying. Perhaps you regularly experience panic attacks, or maybe you have claustrophobia. Getting on a plane can make these existing conditions worse.
And, finally, fear of flying can emerge after a particularly stressful period in your life. Perhaps things have been tough at work, or maybe you have a loved one that has been ill. Long-term stress leading up to a flight can trigger a fear of flying.
7 Ideas for Overcoming Your Fear of Flying
No matter where your fear of flying comes from, there are ways to mitigate or even eliminate it. Here’s a rundown of 7 things you can try if you’re wondering how to overcome your fear of flying. You can even use several of these ideas in tandem to get more comfortable with air travel.
1. Take a Short Trip
If you’re afraid of flying, try to avoid a flight from New York City to Los Angeles. Instead, start with a regional flight of an hour or less. This will help you ease into flying and get a little more comfortable with the thought of it before traveling across the country or overseas.
2. Sit on the Aisle
Most seasoned Travelers have a seat they prefer on flights. If you’re afraid of flying, start with the aisle seat. There are a series of benefits to this approach.
First, you don’t have someone on one side of you, which can help mitigate feelings of claustrophobia. Also, you can easily get up and walk around during your flight if you get restless. And, finally, being away from the window can help lessen the sense of how high up the plane is flying.
Not all airlines allow you to choose your seat ahead of time. So, if you think sitting on the aisle would help, choose an airline that allows you to make a seat selection at booking.
3. Use a Weighted Blanket
If you have the capacity to carry one with you, try using a weighted blanket during your flight. Recent studies indicate that weighted blankets can help regulate your emotions and reduce anxiety. It may be a little heavy to pack in your carry-on — but a weighted blanket could be worth it in helping you overcome a fear of flying.
4. Learn About Planes
Sometimes a fear of flying is related to the mystery of how planes work. What’s keeping the plane up in the air? What causes turbulence? What do the terms and phrases that pilots and flight attendants use really mean?
Once you take the mystery out of flying and understand how planes really work, you may feel a little less anxious or stressed about getting on your next flight.
5. Read a Book
Reading during a flight can help take your mind off of travel. But you might also consider reading a book about overcoming your fears before the plane takes off.
Soar by Tom Bunn is a book that directly addresses aerophobia and provides practical tips for overcoming it. If you are dealing with a fear of flying, give it a read to see if the tips help.
6. Cancel Out the Noise
Some people find the roar of a jet plane comforting as ambient noise. Others may find it a disturbing reminder that the plane is traveling hundreds of miles an hour while thousands of feet up in the air.
If you’re someone who is disturbed by the sounds of air travel, grab a pair of noise-canceling headphones and listen to relaxing music during your flight. This can provide an escape from the realities of air travel.
7. Make it Worth Your While
As mentioned in the introduction, one of the perks of regular air travel is piling up reward points and miles. If you aren’t taking advantage of this perk, it’s time to start.
Make air travel worth your while by concentrating your travel with one airline and using a credit card that helps you generate even more points/miles. You can use these rewards to travel for leisure, or to treat your friends and family to trips. If you’re going to do something uncomfortable, like get on a plane, you might as well get something out of it.
Enjoy Comfortable, Productive Business Trips
Flying for work can feel hectic and overwhelming at times, especially if you’re traveling across multiple time zones or to different continents.
At JTB Business Travel, we work with businesses to help them maximize their investment in business travel, and we also work with Travelers to help them create comfortable and productive itineraries. Behind everything we do is a common-sense approach to business travel.
Contact us to learn more about what we can offer as your travel management company.