fear of flying

It has never been easier to book a trip on a plane than it is today. You can do it all by yourself on the internet, create an entire travel itinerary that includes multiple destinations, accommodation and planned excursions.

However, for 1 in 4 people in Bristol and the South West, the fear of flying (aerophobia) stops them from looking forward to such trips. These people suffer increased anxiety and panic attacks even at the thought of flying and many avoid air travel as a result. The fear of flying is usually a combination of many interplaying thoughts.

Fear that they will lose control of their emotions during a flight and be embarrassed in front of fellow passengers is a prime example. Other concerns are associated with turbulence, bad weather, and a fault with the aeroplane or safe travel in general on a plane. Whatever the causes of this phobia, the good news is that there are ways to overcome them all.

Tips On Overcoming A Fear Of Flying

Understanding turbulence

All turbulence is a result of the natural routine shifts in the wind that enables birds to soar. It may be uncomfortable but it’s not necessarily dangerous. Every aircraft is built to withstand even the most severe turbulence and with your seat belt on, you are always perfectly safe.

Control negative thoughts with positive visualisation

Learn to arrest negative thoughts that play out in your mind. Replace negative thoughts, such as a plane emergency, with a happy ending where you get off the aircraft safely to meet up with loved ones. This positive mentality will help reduce anxiety and keep you calm before and during the flight.

Learn how a plane works and the built-in safety features

One of the main reasons people are scared of flying is a lack of knowledge on exactly how a plane can safely stay in the sky. Becoming familiar with this can be comforting. The pilot and co-pilot are highly trained to deal with emergencies as are the rest of the crew. It may also help to learn about the comparative safety of flying compared to many daily activities such as climbing the stairs or crossing the road. Also, talk to the cabin crew about your concerns as they are trained to support you.

Overcome claustrophobia with breathing exercises and distraction techniques

Everyone gets claustrophobic but there is something you can do. Use distraction and breathing techniques to calm the nerves, walk around the plane to stretch your legs and always plan how you will pass the journey.

Break down each hour of a flight and decide how to occupy yourself – never board a plane without anything to do. Bring along your own calming music selection, a book to read or anything to occupy your mind.

It is impossible to panic when you can control your breathing. If you feel that you are getting anxious, do some simple breathing exercises. Combine this with muscle contraction techniques that control nervous signals as this will help you to remain calm.

Seek professional help and consider a ‘Flying with Confidence’ course

Don’t feel embarrassed about seeking expert assistance. Your doctor can help with extreme cases or suggest the appropriate clinical approach. Many Airlines also offer courses that will give you invaluable advice that is tailored to exactly why your fear exists and how to overcome it. Delivered by experienced airline professionals, you will also meet and learn with people who are experiencing the same thoughts and feelings as you.

Start with small, realistic goals

Experiment with short flights and go through the journey in your head before you arrive at the airport, imagining a safe take-off and landing. Arrive in a calm state so you are not worried about missing the flight or the check-in closing.

We understand the real concerns around the fear of flying as fears and phobias are hard to conquer but persistence and perseverance are what will eventually help you overcome them. We know that travelling on a plane for many people allows them to live a functional life, maintaining work commitments and family connections.

Whether it is for adventure or assignments, at Bristol Travel clinic, we aim to help get you ready for a safe and healthy trip. Please contact us so we can provide support with all your travel health and well-being needs, in an easily accessible low-cost manner.