How to Get Over Flight Anxiety


As students at an international university we are all familiar with flying to some extent. Whether it be a ten hour flight to get home for the holidays or a two hour flight for a weekend trip with friends. Flying connects people across the globe, making the world more accessible than ever, and it is now considered one of the safest modes of transportation. 

But for some, the thought of stepping on an airplane is nauseating, no matter how many times you do it. Flight anxiety also known as aerophobia is a common anxiety that many people face. Luckily, it is a manageable condition and with the right strategies can be easily conquered. So, for those of you with a fear of flying please fasten your seatbelts, put your seat in the up right position and get ready for techniques and tools that will make your ride more enjoyable. 

Understanding Flight Anxiety: 

Flight anxiety often comes from a combination of factors, including closed-in spaces, fear of heights, lack of control, turbulence, fear of take-off and many other things. And although you may know some of these fears are irrational it is essential to acknowledge that these anxieties are normal;

Image Courtesy of Pinterest.

especially for people between the ages of 17 – 34 as this is a time in life where many significant changes occur and flying can feel as if it is jeopardizing your life at such an important time (Cleveland Clinic, 2022). These fears are all very normal and can be addressed through a gradual and comprehensive approach. 

Education is Empowerment:

One of the most effective ways to combat fear and anxiety is through knowledge. Understanding safety measures, statistics, and the science of flying can help to clarify the flying experience. There are numerous resources ranging from books, documentaries, and online courses that provide valuable insights into the mechanics of flights and the extensive safety standards in the aviation industry. And if this is not enough, here are some fun facts that will help to ease your nerves. 

  1. For every billion passenger miles traveled by commercial airlines, only .07 people die (Somers, 2022).
  2. 98.6% of crashes do not result in fatality (Thomas, 2022).
  3. Turbulence is just like driving over a speed bump in a car. And all places are tested against turbulence that doesn’t even exist, so the chances of natural turbulence damaging a plane is very very low (Robin, 2022)
Image Courtesy of Pinterest.

Breathing and Relaxation Techniques: 

Aside from knowledge to calm your nerves there are physical techniques you can use to slow your heart rate and your racing mind before getting on your flight. Practice deep breathing exercise and progressive muscle relaxation to manage anxiety symptoms. Controlled breathing can help regulate your nervous system and promote an overall sense of calm. And for when turbulence starts use deep breaths to stay centered during moments of heightening anxiety. 
Pro Tip – Download Netflix series Headspace Guide to Meditation before boarding as a safety net in case you need assistance in reaching a happy place during your flight.

Positive Visualization: 

Sometimes the journey is the most difficult part, so don’t think about how you’re getting there, think about where you are going. And in terms of how you’re getting there visualize a smooth takeoff, a peaceful flight and a gentle landing. By repeatedly reinforcing positive scenarios in your mind, you can reshape your perception of flying. 

Image Courtesy of Pinterest.

Travel with a Supportive Companion: 

Having a supportive friend or family member by your side can make a huge difference. Whether it be by distracting you with conversation or having a hand to squeeze on take off and landing it can make a world of difference. Like any other type of anxiety you do not have to face this fear alone. And if bringing a travel buddy along is not realistic do not hesitate to alert flight attendants to the fact that you are a nervous flier. Flight attendants are trained to deal with situations like these and are often more than happy to help.

Happy Flying: 

Overcoming flight anxiety is a gradual process that takes time and patience. The more you fly, educate yourself, and practice various meditation techniques the better it will become. By arming yourself with knowledge and exposing yourself in small steps you can transform your fear into an experience that you look forward to. It is important to keep in mind that millions of people fly safely everyday, so take a deep breath, book that flight and happy travels! 

More from Author



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here