Overcoming Flight Anxiety: A Guide for Nervous Travelers

Flying can be an exhilarating experience, but it can also trigger a wave of anxiety and nervousness for many individuals.

If you find yourself feeling uneasy at the mere thought of boarding an airplane, rest assured that you are not alone. Many others feel the same way, and they’re also taking steps to overcome flight anxiety and reclaim the joy of air travel.

It’s not impossible to discover strategies to address and conquer your flight anxiety effectively, but you have to start working on this issue before your upcoming flight.

Understanding Flight Anxiety

A person with flight anxiety, which is also known as aviophobia, typically experiences immediate anxiety when faced with or anticipating air travel. How the condition manifests can vary greatly in each individual, but it can range from mild uneasiness to severe panic attacks.

The psychological reactions and physical symptoms commonly associated with aviophobia are lightheadedness, shaking, sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, and even heart palpitations. There are many reasons why people feel flight anxiety. Among these are fear of heights, lack of control, and past traumatic experiences, all of which can be amplified by flying.

How to Overcome Flight Anxiety: What to Do Before, During, and After Your Flight

Knowledge is power when it comes to combating flight anxiety. Researching and familiarizing yourself with the flying process can help demystify the experience and help you realize how safe air travel is. Try to make an effort to understand the safety measures, statistics, and procedures involved in air travel. Doing so will provide reassurance and dispel irrational thoughts and misconceptions that may be fueling your anxiety.

At the same time, there are steps you can take to make your flight less stressful. Consider these practical tips when planning and preparing for your upcoming flight.

Book Your Flight Strategically

Airports are busy places, especially during the holiday season. Perhaps a calmer atmosphere while preparing for your flight can help you deal with anxiety on your terms. You can opt for early flights with fewer crowds so you can enjoy a more peaceful environment while waiting at the airport.

For your convenience, you can stay at a hotel near NAIA Terminal 2 so you won’t have to travel far for a flight that’s scheduled during odd hours.

Choose the Right Seat on the Plane

The same can be said when choosing seats on the plane. In this case, finding a seat where you won’t be too bothered by the movements of the plane is the best choice. Not many people know that seats near the plane’s wings are the most comfortable place to sit since the wings give that area added stability and result in a much smoother ride.

Pack Comforting Items for Your Flight

It would also help to bring items on your flight that will keep you preoccupied or bring you comfort. You may want to bring a blanket to keep yourself warm, for instance, or wear compression socks to promote better blood circulation, especially during long flights.

If you want to keep yourself distracted during key events such as take-off and landing, it’s an option to read a book or listen to soothing music. You may want to create a playlist for this specific purpose before you board the plane.

Despite these preparations, it’s still possible to feel overwhelmed by the experience of flying. When faced with flight anxiety, remember the following to keep yourself grounded.

Breathing Exercises and Relaxation Techniques

Practice deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness to calm your mind and body. Doing these activities can help you stay calm in stressful situations before, during, or even after your flight.

Engage in Distractions

Take part in activities that divert your attention, such as listening to music, reading a book, playing video games, or watching an in-flight movie. Doing these can help keep your mind off events and situations that can worsen your anxiety or stress you out.

Seek Support from Your Companions

If you’re traveling with a friend or family member you trust, perhaps you can make plans on how to overcome moments that can cause high levels of anxiety. Maybe your companion can guide you through your breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, for example.

You can also communicate with the airline or flight crew about your anxiety. They may be able to offer additional assistance or reassurance to help you overcome your current challenges.

Determining Potential Long-Term Solutions for Your Flight Anxiety

While immediate coping strategies can provide temporary relief, exploring long-term solutions can help you overcome flight anxiety on a deeper level. Consider the following steps:

Gradual Exposure and Desensitization

Work with a therapist specializing in anxiety disorders or specific phobias. They can guide you through gradual exposure to flying, helping you build resilience and confidence over time.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT techniques can help you challenge and reframe negative thoughts and beliefs associated with flying, thus enabling you to develop healthier and more positive perspectives.

Support Groups and Online Communities

Make an effort to connect with others who have overcome or are working through flight anxiety. Sharing experiences and gaining insights from others can provide encouragement and a sense of community.

By understanding flight anxiety, preparing for your flights, and exploring long-term solutions, you can take control of your fears and embark on a more enjoyable and fulfilling journey. Remember, each person’s progress is unique and may take time. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you navigate this process, and soon you’ll be soaring through the skies with newfound confidence and freedom.


FOMO - do you have it?  Well there is no need to Fear On Missing Out here at Explore With Erin. Sign up to receive updates directly to your in box. I won’t spam you, but I do promise a whole lot of awesomeness. What are you waiting for? Join Me!

PS: We hate spam too, read our Privacy Policy here.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Start typing and press Enter to search