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How To Deal With: Fear Of Flying


Most people are surprised to hear that I despise flying. The process of buying the tickets and the idea of leaving town via air is fine. But when it comes to the physical aspect of flying, it gives me a lot of anxiety.

The sheer thought of being in a metal cylinder with wings that somehow manages to float 30,000 feet in the air at 600 mph? How are people not concerned about that? Seriously though, I dream of the day where we can teleport to our destination. 

Until that glorious day of teleportation, I’m going to share how I manage my fear of flying without medication or an emotional support animal. 

  • Sleep - This is the best and most obvious tip I can give to someone with a fear of flying. Once you fall asleep, you're missing most of the flight hence the low anxiety. If you need help with sleeping, take melatonin, a natural way to promote sleep. Melatonin is fairly cheap, like Nature Made Melatonin or Good Night Dust, which is my favorite.  
  • Make a Playlist - Take some time to compose a playlist of songs you love or songs that are calming. If you use apps like Spotify, you'll be able to search for "relaxation" playlists - just make sure you make it available offline. If not, look up classical music or spa music.  
  • Neck Pillow / Hat - When nervous, our necks can get tense. That's why resting your head and neck can make things more relaxing. A more personal experience, I love wearing a beanie or a baseball cap. Somehow it makes me feel more secure. A friend of mine asks for extra blanket to cover her entire body. To each their own! 
  • Give Yourself a Task - You can't sleep or don't want to consume melatonin? No problem. Figure out the length of the flight and assign yourself tasks for that amount of time. Perhaps you have some work to get done, a blog that needs editing, read a book, bring a coloring book, cross-stitch, write a letter to your Grandparents (they'll love it!), edit photos...but you get it, just keep busy
  • Avoid Caffeine - Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours prior to flying. Caffeine can encourage nervousness, restlessness, increased heart rate, none of which you want in addition to your already existing fear of flying. 
  • Look at the Flight Attendant - Let's think about how these flight attendants do this for a living. Most turbulence isn't going to phase them so if you start getting nervous, look over at a crew member. You'll see their calmness and feel much better. 
  • Use the Am I Going Down app -  I discovered this app a few months ago and have been surprised by how many people knew about it. It's a simple app where you put your originating airport, your destination, airline and the type of aircraft. Then the app calculates the chances of your plane crashing. As morbid as it sounds, the whole point of it is to show you how little the chances are of your plane going down. When my anxiety is high, I'll use it and it surprisingly makes me feel better.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/am-i-going-down-fear-flying/id950258805?mt=8&at=1001lmYt

Here are some facts about plane crashes that may make you feel better: 
  • The chance of your plane going down is around 1 in 5.4 million (source). 
  • Traveling by car is 100 times more deadly than flying (source). 
  • Since the take-off is most dangerous, flying 10,000 miles isn't twice as risky as flying 5,000 (source).
  • The chance of you getting killed by a shark, bee sting and lightning are more likely (source).

Obviously none of this is the ultimate cure all of flight anxiety but if you suffer from it or know someone that does, I hope these tips help! Not only do I travel a lot now, I was in the airline industry and my last job involved frequent travel. None of that ever lessened my flight anxiety because as soon as the plane wiggles, I’m breaking a sweat. So know you’re not alone!  

What are your thoughts about flying? Are you that confident passenger I feel comfortable sitting next to? Or do you have flight anxiety as well? I’d love to know and please share tips if you have any!

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34 comments

  1. Oh my goodness me too! Growing up on an island air travel was a must but I hate it. I can land in jersey without having a complete meltdown, short runway you see. Even with all my travels I still panic. Looking at the stewardesses! I always do that too. I'm getting worse the older I get bizarrely but Glad I'm not the only seasoned traveler that has this issue.

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    1. Oh my gosh! I TOTALLY agree with you! As I get older it's getting worse too! Glad to know I'm not the only one! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  2. I also have travel anxiety when it comes to flying. I've been flying for years and I still hate it. I've always hoped I'd get over it but nope. Not yet. Thankfully, the kids are usually with me when I travel and they keep me busy so my mind isn't focused on my fear.

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    1. Me too!!!! It gets worse as I get older, probably because I know there's so much to lose? I'm glad you have your kids to keep you distracted! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  3. Good tips for mild fears. If you fear is "heavy-duty," you'll need something like this a.co/0n0P5v2 

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  4. Omg I need that AM I GOING DOWN APP! I have many Flight Attendant friends that kept on telling me to apply to work with them. They assumed that I enjoy flying but the truth is I hate it! My go-to solution? Get wine sleepy ;) Love this post!

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    1. I know! The app seems like such a dumb thing but it REALLY makes me feel better, haha! Ahhh, I applied to be a FA tons of times but I'm the same way, I hate flying but love traveling. Oh the conflict. Haha! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  5. Ha that app is hilarious! I have a husband who quotes these facts to me though ;) Definitely keeping busy is a good strategy. And live life to the full - that way, if you do go down, you'll have no regrets ;) #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. Haha that's awesome your husband tells you those things! So true about living life to the fullest! :) Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  6. Oh my ! The name of this app is pretty terrifying ...I am lucky I don't fear the flying but I do get motion sickness. Not even sure which one of these is better ))))
    I think a good dose of melatonin should take away the fear. Recognizing the fear is the first step to fight it. I think you have all the possible strategies listed in your article!

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    1. That's true, the name is terrible but it does get your attention! Haha :) Oh yes I get motion sickness too! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  7. I've never liked flying & mostly stuck to traveling domestically by car. Unfortunately my car can't take me overseas :( My anxiety about flying has mostly gone away by now that I'm used to it, but I still hate flying because I can't stand being cramped up for so long & it's impossible for me to sleep on airplanes. I mostly just listen to music and color.

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  8. Great article! I have to share this with my partner. He loves travelling as much as I do, but is the worst flier I know! On our way from Europe to Australia, the second leg of the 24 hour journey was bumpy to say the least with a lot of turbulence and he was holding/squeezing my hand almost the whole time! HA! It's amazing how sometimes a person who you seem mentally very strong crumbles when it comes to flying, event hough driving a car is way more dangerous!! Thanks for sharing! I will share this in my Twiter (:

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    1. Thanks Kreete! Omg so funny! Your partner is like me, I start sweating and grabbing onto tings, haha! You'll have to let him know about the app, it's not a cure all by any means but it does mentally make me feel better! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  9. OMG I did not know about this app! My boyfriend is going to love it haha - he's a stats freak and is scared of flying as well! I find that sleeping works the best, and one or two glasses of wine helps me too!

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    1. Omg I love that! Haha, you'll definitely have to introduce your boyfriend to the app. It doesn't fix everything but it helps me a little bit! And YES, wine! Of course :) Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  10. I can definitely relate to this post...I get anxiety when I'm flying as well, especially if there is turbulence - in small planes is the worst! I love that idea of the Am I Going Down app, what a genius idea to calm your nerves. Thanks for the helpful tips, I'll try some of these out on my flight across the country in a couple of weeks. :)

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    1. I'm so glad you can relate! Small planes IS the worst, you're so right! Yay, I'm glad you'll be able to use some of the tips! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  11. Fortunately I do not have a fear of flying, but have a friend we travel with often who does. I will make sure to share this post for her.

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    1. Aww thank you so much! I definitely want to help people even just a little bit! :) Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  12. Wow, that's great Kana! While I'm not normally afraid of flying, at the first sign of turbulence, I always think it's game over. That app sounds crazy though - does seem a bit morbid, but hey, putting things into perspective is always a good idea 😊

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    1. Hi Rob! ME TOO, a little shake and I'm thinking about what I'll miss when I'm dead! So dramatic, I know :) I agree, the app name especially is morbid but the numbers make me feel better! :) Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  13. Thanks, Kana. I'm approaching 2 million miles on one airline, and used to work for another, so I don't have any particular anxiety ... but I am closely related to a couple of people who DO get terrified, so I'm passing this post on to them. (Strange, though, that statistics aren't necessarily convincing in the face of this fear!)

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    1. Oh wow! 2 million miles! That's crazy! I used to be an interpreter for Delta Airlines and even meeting a 1 Million Miler was a big deal for us! Thank you so much for passing it on, I'm hoping it helps at least some people! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo P.S You're right, statistics sometimes isn't enough but just a tiny boost helps!

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  14. Claire is a bit of an anxious flyer too despite having done it lots as kid. I however absolutely love flying; from the rush of the lift off, tto he odd little rollercoaster-esque bump when flying through a cloud, and even the heavily criticised aeroplane food! Whilst I have no fear of flying, I completely understand why many people do and these are some great tips to help alleviate that. We always find watching TV or films helps alot for Claire (although that obviously only works on long haul flights. Thanks for Sharing and happy belated #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. Aww that's great you love the rush and enjoy flying! You're just like my Dad, he enjoys everything about it, even the food, haha! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  15. I used to be terrified of any turbulence when flying and absolutely paranoid the plane was going to crash! But other than I actually liked flying. It was just when I lived in rural NZ and the planes were really tiny and I had to fly through Wellington to get home - and Wellington is the windiest city in NZ, the runway is right on the waterfront and every landing my knuckles would be white from gripping the armrest so tight as the plane bounced from side to side seemingly only a few metres above the ocean...eventually bumping along the runway. Distraction is a brilliant technique though! Colouring in (if it's not bumpy), reading and music are my go-to plane activities.

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    1. Oh my gosh just that story makes me nervous, haha! I'm glad you're safe and sound though ;) I do enjoy flying for the most part but one sign of turbulence and I'm like, wow I had a good life. Haha, so dramatic! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  16. I've never really had any anxiety about flying, I suppose I'm just not the nervous type. But I do always make myself a playlist to listen to for any flight, I definitely think it has a calming affect, plus some mellow music helps put me right to sleep.

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    1. That's great you don't have anxiety! I'm sure it makes your traveling much nicer! Agreed, I have my "Airplane" playlist too with calming music! :) Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  17. Ugh I hate flying too. I avoid caffiene like the plague when I fly. It turns me into the most paranoid person when flying. Whats worse too is that EVERYTIME we fly out of Denver, we hit turbulence over the Rockies and it freaks me the eff out!! Haha, great tips! And I love that app!! # FlyAwayFriday

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    1. Omg you too?! Haha I didn't know! The app name is a bit morbid but I do like seeing the stats so I feel better! xo

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