If you have a fear of flying, also known as aerophobia or aviophobia, it can really limit your options for travel. For those who own Nashville real estate, for example, it’s a 13-hour drive to New York versus only an approximate two and a half hour flight and 30 hours to drive to Los Angeles versus flying for only about four hours. Getting to a Caribbean island or Europe is obviously out of the question without getting on a plane.
The first step in conquering your fear of flying is to just do it. After only one or two trips on an easy flight, Common Cents Mom tells us “you’ll start to feel more comfortable. These tips can also help you feel more comfortable on a plane.”
Think about the statistics. You are more likely to get injured or die while traveling in any other form of transportation. In fact, the chance of dying in an airplane is only one in 13 million. On average, 26,678 Americans die every year in car accidents, yet most don’t think twice about getting into their car every morning. Flying is the safest mode of transportation. Remind yourself of this next you get on a flight.
What scares most fliers is turbulence, but it is important to note that turbulence doesn’t cause plane crashes. Planes are built to tolerate it – it’s simply a change in airflow or a “bump in the road.” Even in the most extreme cases, pilots are taught to navigate around it or slow to a speed so that the plane cannot be damaged. Only an average of 58 passengers (out of about 3 billion) are injured each year because of turbulence and the majority of those are because the passenger or flight attendant was not wearing a seat belt when it occurred.
While the facts don’t always comfort everyone, usually it’s due to the lack of control that can frighten people with phobias. But there is always something you can do to take the edge off. Most doctors are willing to prescribe a mild sedative to those who are truly uncomfortable. That can help you relax and perhaps help you sleep through the flight too. For those that shy away from prescribed medicine, having a glass of wine or beer can help calm your nerves, just don’t overdo it, keeping in mind that alcohol dehydrates and can increase jet lag symptoms.
One of the most helpful ways to relax on a plane is to meditate or perform focused, slow breathing. Use imagery to get your mind off of the fact that you are flying. Distraction via a movie, conversation with your fellow traveler, or a good book are also great options.