Travel Advice

Top Tips To Prevent The Fear Of Flying

Get over fear of flying

Today I (Mrs W ) am 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

At 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 preflight.

Book A Comfortable Seat

Virgin Upper
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.

Private Jets

Not completely beyond the realms of fantasy, why not try a private jet. With its glamour, personal attention and zero stress, it completely takes your mind off any apprehensions you may have about flying. You’ll be too busy trying to decide what to wear for that ‘film premiere’ rather than thinking about the fact you’re 35,000 feet in the air. Just get your P.A. (we all have them) to give Chapman Freedom a ring to organise the pickup.

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

A Private Flight

Breathe slow and deeply to prevent hyperventilating. 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. If your anxiety about flying is impacting your life or keeping you from travelling, you could seek counselling to work on this issue.

Fear Of Flying Courses

Learn to Fly

Some airline companies run fear of flying courses which are also 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 when flying? What do you think of my coping strategies?


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  • Fiona Maclean
    September 9, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    I’m not scared of flying but your tips sound very sensible to me. Obviously travelling business class helps…and if I could convince myself it was necessary for anyone scared of flying I might just suddenly become scared myself 😉 I’ve also been told that keeping both feet flat on the floor of the plane will help (that by a friend who was an acrobatic pilot!)

    • Mr and Mrs W
      September 13, 2018 at 11:00 pm

      I will try that the keeping my feet flat on the floor tip, we are flying again in a few days.

  • Carol Colborn
    September 10, 2018 at 12:11 am

    I am not scared of flying and my husband flew small private jets so we don’t have a problem. But your tips make sense!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      September 13, 2018 at 11:01 pm

      That sounds a great job, Mr W flew light aircraft and he’s not bothered at all.

  • Holly
    September 10, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    I just flew with a first time who was so nervous they didn’t even sleep the night before. I just kept them calm and answered every question I could for them. Patience is key. These are great tips though.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      September 13, 2018 at 11:03 pm

      We’ve been on a few flights where the films on board were ‘Flight’ and “Sully” – not the best in-flight entertainment for nervous flyers!

  • Rosemary
    September 11, 2018 at 1:56 am

    Great tips for those who fear flying. Fortunately, I’m not one of them. Keeping busy and learning to breathe through the turbulence are two top tips that make a lot of sense. Certainly, if upgrading to business/first class is possible, it makes the whole travel experience that much more enjoyable.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      September 13, 2018 at 11:04 pm

      The more space and comfort you have does make it feel much better and less claustrophobic.

  • sherianne
    September 11, 2018 at 3:22 am

    I have been having this issue lately. It sucks! It took me weeks to purchase my current plane tickets and the price doubled by the time I finally hit purchase. Love the idea of a handheld fan!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      September 13, 2018 at 11:05 pm

      Love the handheld fun, definitely recommend having one.

  • Alli
    September 11, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    It’s interesting for me to reflect on this and realize that when I was younger – I really didn’t seem to have any fear of flying at all. Now that I’m a bit older, there is a little fear there! I don’t know what it is! But sometimes when the plane goes through turbulence I get so so nervous. Maybe watching too many movies. But your tips are all awesome – I would LOVE to upgrade from economy one of these days…!!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      September 13, 2018 at 11:06 pm

      Yes, when you are young you don’t seem to have the same anxiety as when you are older.

  • Mansoureh Farahani
    September 11, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    I am not scared of Flying, but I understand what you say. When you drive a car you have more control, but when you fly you put yourself in the hand of pilots. But that is good you came up with some helps and great tips for those who fear flying.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      September 13, 2018 at 11:07 pm

      Not feeling in control is definitely an issue for lots of people.

  • Himanshu
    September 12, 2018 at 2:09 am

    A good post touching on an important topic. I love lounges and being a priority pass holders, I enjoy best in class lounges. I like the tip that travel bag should have all essential items to make journey comfortable and for me it is incomplete without a neck pillow.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      September 13, 2018 at 11:08 pm

      Yes, making yourself as comfortable as possible definitely helps.

  • Punita Malhotra
    September 12, 2018 at 6:42 am

    And the bumpy rides don’t help at all. I agree with the tips you made. Keeping oneself busy and deep breathing are so useful. Fear of flying courses…thats new!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      September 13, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      Lots of airlines run fear of flying courses where you are helped by the actual pilots.