“Just do it! Training wheels are sold separately, or in this case, not sold at all.”
I’m going to end up in a plane crash! Not really, but these are my thoughts every time I board a plane. I’m not trying to predict the future or wish myself bad karma, but it’s difficult to get over my fear of flying so high and fast in the sky. As Queen Pessimist, I can’t help but think of the worst case scenario.
Yet, I’ve conquered my fear of flying over the years and have determined 5 ways that getting over the fear of flying is (almost) guaranteed.
Choose the right seat
My seat made the world of difference. Sitting in the window seat gave me the view of the world from 0 ft to over 90,000 ft above the ground. The bird’s eye view is one of the best for taking photos. Plus, I have thousands of them just waiting to be shared.
The window seat wasn’t my top choice at first. When I began flying, I wanted to stay as far away from the window as possible. It was a reminder that I was no longer on the ground where I was safe. I was thousands of feet in the air where the risk was at an all time high.
I didn’t want to see the plane gradually make its way up above the clouds or descend at 900+ mph. I felt it was a recipe for disaster.
The more I flew, however, I grew to love the sky, clouds, the plane, everything! I was getting comfortable. I was becoming a jet-setter.
The seats, whether in the front or back of the plane, was also a factor in getting over my fear of flying. I wanted to be closer to the front where the chances of escaping danger would be greater.
A window seat in the first few rows was ideal, but as I soon learned, traveling wasn’t all about where I sat, but where I was going.
The fear of flying was only a big deal because I made it a big deal. So, what if the plane elevates to 90,000 feet in the air? That’s pretty cool to think about.
So, what if the plane shakes a bit? It’s just an indication that the plane works.
So, what if the plane takes a bit longer to arrive at the destination? Better late than never. And, better safe than sorry.
I built the most anxiety just overthinking. The idea of flying festered in my mind for too long. I just had to breathe, relax, and occupy my mind with something more productive like my trip’s itinerary.
Find soothing activities
I like to surrender my mind with something fun and that brings me joy. This is especially true when I began flying.
To ease my thoughts and drown out the weird airplanes noises (explained below), I made sure I carried a pair of headphones.
I hooked my headphones up to my seat’s armrest, and began changing music stations to find one that I like. On my first plane ride, I listened to the same loop of 40 songs for 9 hours straight. It didn’t matter because the music kept me calm and distracted me from crossing the Atlantic ocean.
Finding the right activity defeats anxiety and any fear arising from first-time flying jitters. Some suggested activities include listening to music downloaded on your device or provided by the airline, reading a book or magazine, playing games on your device or going old school and doing a crossword puzzle, and/or watching the airline’s complimentary movie.
Just do it
Just do it! Training wheels are sold separately, or in this case, not sold at all.
There is no true preparation for flying anywhere. I just had to board the plane and take off (literally speaking).
It wasn’t easy for me when I experienced my first trip abroad and my first flight ever: a 9 hour, direct flight from Miami to Madrid.
And, because I purchased an almost $1,000 round trip ticket, I knew the only way to get my money’s worth was to actually fly.
I’m a planner and I tried overcoming the fear with information. I researched articles, watched some Youtube videos, and asked friends for advice. But, despite the amount of research, advice, tips, consolation and comfort I received, the fear of flying still weighed heavily at the bottom of my stomach.
That feeling didn’t leave me until well over 10 flights in the course of my travel journey. The anxiety still builds when the plane rattles and shakes, the plane takes-off and lands, and is cruising thousands of miles in the sky.
But, nothing prepared me well than doing the task at hand. I didn’t get over the fear of flying until I did it. And, again, and again. Now, I’ve taken dozens of flights and it gets better with each one.
What’s that noise?
My fear of flying heightens when the plane is noisier than the shopping mall on a Saturday.
As a first-time traveler, every bang, thump, creek, and howl seemed to put me on edge. How was I supposed to trust a 75-ton plane to carry me to and from my destination safely if it seems it’s falling apart while on the ground?
But, I’ve finally found the explanation to all of the noises passengers hear before, during, and after flying.
Here are some reasons why airplanes are so noisy:
- Luggage is being placed below the plane.
- The air conditioner is working. It’s just a bit loud up until and after the engine starts.
- The flaps and slats used to help the plane take off will create different noises before takeoff.
- The engines, flaps, and landing gear produce noise used to get the plane up in the air. Think a 75 ton (150,000 pounds) plane going up to 170 miles/hour.
- Once the plane is in the air and begins leveling off, the engine reduces noises and seems like it has shut off. It just needs less thrust to cruise to your destination.
- Vibration will occur during descent since the plane has to decelerate to land.
Not bad, eh? Noise is part of the journey, so putting some headphones in will do the trick. It certainly helped me get over my fear of flying.
Have more questions about how to put an end to your fear of flying? Or, do you have some advice for others with aviophobia? Comment below!