Travel Tips for the Fearful Flier

Air travel has transformed over the past few decades, becoming the primary means of mass travel for a majority of the population. Many have a pleasant enough time with flying, finding their reserved spot at the OAK airport parking lot or San Francisco International Airport parking structure, breezing through security, and waiting patiently for their plane.

Others have a much rougher time, taking too much time and paying too much for an SJC long-term parking spot and waiting what seems like hours in the security line. Others have an even worse time with flying. If you are scared of flying, here are a few tips to better cope with air travel.

1. Sing It Out

Don’t hide it. Tell everyone, from the gate agent to the flight attendant to passengers sitting around you. There’s no shame in being upfront about your fear, a common one at that. About one out of every six adults has a fear of flying, and an estimated 35 percent of all airline crews, including flight attendants and pilots, is afraid of flying or heights.

It’s important to recognize your fear and keep it under control. Telling the people around you is a good way to garner support. Most flight attendants will check in on their fearful fliers throughout the flight to ensure their comfort.

2. Ask for a Front Seat

There are numerous factors that contribute to a fear of flights, from the enclosed space to the stale air to the lack of control. It’s a wonder that more people aren’t afraid to fly. Perhaps the biggest contributing factor to that fear is turbulence. It’s a natural part of flight, though not comfortable, even for the veteran flier.

Turbulence tends to be much greater towards the back of the plane. A seat at the front of the plane can reduce the jostling feeling of turbulence.

3. Stay Distracted

We all have our own means of entertainment on a plane. Some of us enjoy the in-flight movie, others read and listen to music. Still others play solitaire or work away on their laptops. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you keep yourself distracted. Do anything that keeps your mind occupied on something other than possible macabre scenarios.

4. The Foods You Eat

What you put into your body affects your mental state. When you’re already so anxious, avoid coffee and other caffeinated foods that will only make you more hyper, raising your anxiety levels. Otherwise, make sure to stay hydrated. Dehydration can only contribute to your anxiety and the fear process. You might consider a cocktail to soothe the nerves, but don’t overdo it.

5. Breathe

Breathe deep and often. The airsickness bag doubles as an anti-hyperventilating device if you do begin to hyperventilate.

If you’re afraid of flying, just do your best to relax. Settle in, and enjoy the view. It’s a rare treat to see the world from this point of view!

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