Today I’m going to talk about something that is a bit embarrassing for someone who loves to travel as much as me – I’m scared of flying.
It all started with a bad flight I had, the turbulence was crazy, and since then I really dislike flying. It’s not that I’m scared of crashing, well not more so than any normal person, and I know flying is far safer than driving, but it is to do with the feeling of not being in control and also being in the enclosed space.
Here are some coping strategies, my top tips if you will, for dealing with the fear of flying.
Plan Getting To The Airport
I feel in control and less stressed when everything is planned out. So I check and double check the flight times, and plan how I would get to the airport in plenty of time for the flight. Often I stay overnight in an airport hotel to avoid traffic jams and having to get up at a silly o’ clock time.
Book A Lounge If You Can
If I can, and especially when I’m flying long haul I book an executive lounge at the airport. I recommend the No1 lounge at Gatwick and Heathrow. Lounges like this although they do cost, give you food, drink (including alcohol) wi-fi and a relaxing environment pre flight.
Book A Comfortable Seat
The extra space on an exit row seat makes me feel much better so I always try and book this type of seat if I can. Other than that a premium economy seat or business class/upper class will give you more space, better food and greater comfort. I have to warn you though, when you go upper class you will never want to book economy again!
Upper class on Virgin Atlantic gives you access to a special lounge with unlimited food and drink, a streamlined no fuss check in, excellent food on board with proper cutlery and china and a seat that converts into a bed.
Prepare Your Travel Bag
Make sure your travel bag is full of items to make the journey more comfortable. I pack:-
- Travel sickness tablets
- A small handheld fan
- Ipod full of relaxing music
- Tablets from the Dr to calm my nerves (diazepam)
- A magazine to keep me occupied
- My Mac – so I can work if I want to
- Some mints or sweets
Use Alcohol Wisely
A couple of glasses of wine or beer may make you feel more relaxed, just don’t over do it, and be careful if you are mixing alcohol and sedatives.
Keep Yourself Busy
If I am going long haul I check out the entertainment system on the plane beforehand. Virgin have an excellent entertainment system on their long haul flights. Their website has a section called My Movies which allows you to see what films are on that month and what is coming next.
I look at what films are on the flight and then plan what I am going to see in time blocks. This way I always have something to keep myself busy.
If I have some spare time I listen to music, read travel books or write blog posts.
What To Do If You Feel Panicky
Breathe slow and deeply to prevent hyper ventilating. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five on each in-breath and each out-breath.
If you are starting to feel worse, adjust the ventilation so you have cool air on you, put your headphones on and set it to the most tranquil music you have. If you have any tablets like diazepam for anxiety take one. Remember how safe flying is and try and relax as best you can.
Fear Of Flying Courses
Some airline companies run fear of flying courses which are worth considering if your fear is preventing you from travelling. Alternatively consider learning to do your private pilots licence, the more you learn about how a plane works and know how to fly the more in control you may feel.
Tell me, do you get scared flying? What do you think of my coping strategies?