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How to overcome the fear of airplanes? Advice and tips

Approximately one in four people are afraid of flying. The severity of these fears ranges from “I am not very interested in flying” to absolutely refusing to board a plane. Either way, this can ruin a perfect vacation or completely deprive the person of a vacation or visiting loved ones who live far away.

Regardless of your fear level, it is possible to overcome your fear of airplanes.

Why are we so afraid to fly but not, for example, to drive every day?

We are land animals. We were not basically designed for flight and therefore we can only experience this phenomenon as an outsider. When we are afraid, the more primitive emotional part of the brain takes control, and the logical part is largely ignored. So all those statistics based on our observations that flying is safer than driving go in one ear and out the other of the person who is afraid. In fact, driving is 100 times more dangerous than flying. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the world of flight operates on a zero-tolerance policy to what threatens our security. While pilot training is very detailed and difficult, regular checks ensure that the ability is at the highest level, and airplanes go through countless routine checks between each landing and takeoff. Add to this safety formula the comprehensive systems that support each other, such as wings, engines, computers, extra fuel capacity, and you have by far the safest mode of transportation on the planet. It’s no coincidence that Americans get their presidents on a plane during civil unrest, because flying is the safest thing a human can do (18 times safer than at home and 10 times safer than at work).

Where does the fear of airplanes come from?

Being a parent is probably the most common trigger for fear of flying, and for two reasons. First of all, we are programmed to protect our next generation, and we try to stay away from anything that we think will jeopardize that purpose at every opportunity. Secondly, while having a child is a wonderful thing, it changes drastically in parents: they are no longer solely responsible for their own situation and have to adjust their habits to the needs of the baby. Another common cause is having a bad flight experience due to turbulence. We make sure that our participants fully understand that turbulences, however disturbing they may be, never pose a danger. Airplanes are designed to withstand turbulence with ease.

Is there anything else people can do to make their flight more comfortable after boarding?

There are a few things travelers can do, like drink enough water and avoid consuming too much of stimulants like coffee, cola, chocolate and alcohol. Comfortable clothes, deep and slow breathing, and releasing your muscles (no gripping the armrest) will also help. These will allow the person to stay in the ‘Rest and Digest’ mode instead of the ‘Fight or Flight’ mode. Instead of focusing on the entire flight, I suggest breaking up the flight into small segments such as serving food, watching a movie, and reading a pleasant book. Thinking about what-if scenarios and black-and-white can lead to catastrophic scenarios and situations that can lead to your imagination getting out of control, and by keeping yourself busy you avoid these thoughts.

Is it a good idea to alert aircraft personnel to your aircraft concern?

Yes, absolutely, because this way the cabin crew can provide you with the extra care and reassurance you need. Every reputable airline trains its staff to ensure they do their best to meet the needs of their customers.

Overcoming the fear of airplanes

Preventive attitude is always better than cure and that is why people need to take care of their health. If we take care of our physical and mental health, we will not be the target of psychological disorders, some of which are phobias. The way a phobia influences decisions in your life is like a dog’s tail being the commanding organ.


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