As a food and travel writer, I fly all the time and I’m still a nervous flier, but I refuse to allow my anxiety to control me and prevent me from seeing the world (and furthering my career). Here are some calming techniques I utilize:
1. IDENTIFY YOUR FEAR
Is it the fear of crashing? Terrorism? Claustrophobia? I like facts and statistics and I have learned to comfort myself by consuming tons of favorable information. For example, a plane’s wings can bend almost in half without breaking. Take solace in knowing a plane can fly on only one engine should the second one fail; it can glide safely for quite a long time without an engine at all. You stand a greater chance of being bitten by a shark than being the victim of terrorism. You get the drift.
2. INVEST IN YOUR COMFORT
Depending on your budget, you may be able to purchase amenities and services that can relax you pre- and in-flight. A plush eye mask, high-quality, noise-blocking earbuds, a cashmere blanket–little luxuries like this can be lifesavers especially on long-haul flights. If you are able to, try to get a comfortable seat; this might mean you have to pay for an upgrade or, better yet, first or premium class. An upgrade can go a long way in easing nerves and making your flight an enjoyable one.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
I get antsy on flights longer than 4 hours so I break my flight into segments by watching movies (comedies work best). For example, if my flight is 8 hours, I estimate that’s about 4 movies. That number is easier for me to digest than thinking of 8 long hours in the sky.
4. BRING A SUPPORT ITEM
Do you have a favorite blanket? Scarf? Picture? I bring komboloi (worry beads) I bought in Greece years ago. Most people who are afraid to fly fear the unknown. Having something familiar is comforting.