Have you ever been in a flight where a co-passenger just started to scream as soon as the aircraft started to take off? This happens more often than you’d think. There are a lot of people who find it difficult to entrust their lives to an aircraft pilot. And this is exactly what you have to do while in an airborne plane- relinquish control of your life to the pilots and trust that they get you safely to your destination. Scary right? It doesn’t necessarily have to be though. Look at the statistics, pilots are doing a good job. The Air Safety Network (ASN) recorded a total of 15 fatal airliner accidents in 2018, which caused a total of 556 deaths. These figures may seem high until you realize that they represent a rate of one fatal accident for every 3 million flights. This figure is extremely low, compared to over one million people that die in road crashes annually. This means that you are safer in an aircraft than in a car, therefore your fear of flying might be irrational. This article suggests ways to help you get rid of that fear.
Know what to expect
Take off, turbulence and landing. These are the three most eventful parts of flying. And also the three aspects of flying that scares passengers the most.
Nervous flyers would need to understand what happens at take-off if they’re to feel less afraid during the process. First, the pilot increases the aircraft’s engine power to make sure all the plane’s engines are producing the same amount of power. Then comes the full take-off, accompanied by a quick acceleration and intensified engine noise. As the aircraft moves down the runway in preparation for take-off, it is normal to hear sounds and feel bumps. You will also feel a bump when the aircraft eventually lifts off the ground. All of this is normal and not a cause for alarm.
During turbulence, you’ll feel unexpected movements of the aircraft. Sometimes it feels like the plane is being tossed to and fro by the wind. The pilot’s assurance that ‘this is just turbulence’ does nothing to calm the hundreds of rattled nerves in the aircraft, as drinks get spilled and many fists get clenched. However, the pilot is right. Turbulence is merely an inconvenience. The aircraft is built to withstand a lot more stress than can be caused by turbulence.
Landing is the last part of the flying process. You’ll feel the aircraft slowly descend until it finally touches the runway. You’ll feel a bump when the plane hits the runway, again this is normal and you must remain on your seat until the pilot turns off the seat belt sign.
See a therapist
The fear of flying is known as aerophobia. If you suffer from this condition, once you’re in a moving aircraft, your palms get clammy, your heart rate increases, you start to tremble, experience a shortness of breath and a choking sensation. If you suffer from this condition, you can visit a therapist to ask for help and get treated. Asides from offering therapy for your condition, a therapist can also prescribe anti-anxiety medication that would help you calm your nerves for the duration of the flight.
Get the most comfortable seat (Aisle, middle or window)
What seat do you think you’ll be most comfortable sitting in? Many people who are afraid of flying would usually avoid window seats. Looking out of the window while airborne could cause your head to spin sometimes. If you are afraid of flying, always select an aisle or middle row seat when booking your flight. If you find yourself in a window seat, kindly ask another passenger if they would love to switch places with you. You’ll be surprised by how many people love window seats.
Loosen up, have some wine
While choosing to take the wine route, you must remember that excessive drinking may lead to unplanned violent behaviour, which can get you kicked out of an aircraft. For this reason, you’re advised to take only two to three glasses of wine before your flight. You can also ask the air hostesses to serve you more wine while you’re airborne. The key is to drink enough that your nerves are relaxed, but not so much that you’re drunk.
Avoid the Flight Channel
The flight channel posts regular updates of plane crashes that have occurred since commercial flying became a thing. This channel can seem like a messenger of doom sometimes and when you have filled up your mind with pictures of crashed aircraft, it becomes difficult to imagine positive outcomes when you’re airborne.
Take advantage of the Power of Positive Thinking
When you’re in an aircraft, always remember that there are only two possible outcomes. The chances of the aircraft crashing are exceedingly slim, while there is a fat chance that you will get to your destination in one piece. Therefore rather than spend all your time panicking and picturing an air crash, why don’t you save yourself some anxiety and focus on the fact that there’s a close to 100% chance that you will get to your destination in one piece? Focus on your destination and whatever it is, you’re going there for.
Read or watch something captivating
Buy a nice book before your flight. Select something captivating enough to take your mind away from the fact that you are flying in an aircraft. If you’re not much of a reader, then use the in-flight entertainment system in the aircraft. These systems are often crammed with all sorts of movies from thrillers to drama and comedy. You can also play some music on the flight’s entertainment system. If the aircraft you’re flying on is not equipped with an entertainment system, then you could watch these movies on your phone or computer by setting these devices to airplane mode. Only use your devices when the pilot says you can, and turn them off when you’re asked to.
This article was first published by Travelbeta