Learning to Fly: Top Tips for Overcoming Flight Fear

Does fear of flying keep you grounded? If you constantly make excuses not to travel abroad and panic about getting on an airplane, there is help. Fear of flying can be conquered. Here are top tips to overcome flight fear for good.

fear of flying by epSos.de on Flickr

Understand What’s Causing Your Fear

Whether you fear undergoing the terrifying experience of a plane crash, the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped on a plane, or you worry that you’ll have a panic attack while on board, understanding your fear is the first step toward beating it.

Some people fear heights, which is often associated with a fear of flying. And Type A personalities can feel uncomfortably out of control when flying. Generally speaking, fear of flying is a type of anxiety disorder, so the techniques used to calm anxieties can work well with this fear as well.

Learn to Control The Fear

If you suffer from severe anxiety, you probably don’t pay much attention to all the statistics about the safety of air travel. But learning about airplane travel can actually help a lot. If you’ve never flown before, take the time to discover what sights, sounds and sensations are a normal part of air travel. Familiarize yourself with the range of normal, but odd, noises and bumps and twists you may experience.

Learn about the science behind how jet airplanes work, and do consider the statistics. Wrap your mind around the fact that your chances of experiencing any kind of air disaster are extremely small. Fewer than 37 fatalities occur out of every 16 million flights. The chances of having a fatal car accident are 1,000 times higher.

Hire a Coach

If your fears are truly debilitating and interfering with your work or job-related travel, it’s time to call in a professional. Career coaches who specialize in overcoming phobias such as fear of flying can work with you to help you overcome your “aviophobia.” Your coach will help you delve inside your fears to discover what’s driving them, and give you tools and techniques for coping with anxiety and panic. You can learn to not only handle flying, but you’ll also pick up some top on-the-job techniques for common job-related problems.

Pretend the Plane is a Big, Noisy Bus

If all this learning hasn’t convinced you that you’re going to be OK, the next step is to get on a plane and pretend like you’re going to be OK. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a seat on a Greyhound bus riding down Route 66. Pretend any turbulence is just a bumpy road. And be sure to bring lots of distractions along, like a tablet computer or MP3 player, books, magazines, or anything else that keeps your mind occupied. Or get the headphones and watch the movie.

Try Some Tranquilizers

If there’s really no way around it, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she can discuss prescribing a mild tranquilizer or sleeping pill. Often, these medications can help you relax, and even sleep, through the flight. It’s best to take the pill once you’re on board so you don’t fall asleep in the airport and miss your flight.

Millions of people suffer from fear of flying. Fortunately, there are many tricks and techniques to help you overcome your fear, as well as trained professionals with the skills to get you on board and flying high.

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