Fearful Flyers: Tips & Resources For Anxious Travelers
September 15, 2020
Callie’s dad is a pilot for United, and flew us home from Beijing in 2018. He even let me visit the cockpit and try on his hat! A dream come true for an anxious flyer like me!
I’ve been on over one hundred flights in my life — and I still get nervous when the wheels leave the ground!
However, I have discovered resources and tips for calming my flight anxiety that has taken me from crying days before the flight to just a little nerves as the plane takes off.
This app has been a life saver for me. Developed by a pilot with psychology experience, he has tailored the app to meet the needs of anxious travelers who tend to think of “worst case” scenarios.
You first put in your flight information, and the app will show you the flight route for the day, and any predicted turbulence. As you’re flying, you can follow along on the route, and know when you hit a bump in the sky that it was expected by the pilots. For someone with anxiety, like me, this “sense of control” helps you feel like the pilot is sitting right next to you, explaining every noise and smell.
Smell? Yes! This app guides you through all sensory experiences from the moment you step on the plane, through pushback, taxi, takeoff, level flight, and descent. If you’re like me, and you start spiraling through every small detail — this app explains it all away. Why are the lights flickering? Why does it sound like there is a dog barking? This app doesn’t miss a thing.
The app also offers a free 45-minute video to watch on the flight. It goes through the basics of flying, but also goes through “worst case scenarios” and how you will still be okay. An engine goes out? Both engines go out? This app has an answer.
A great read written by a pilot. Similar to the above app, it explains all of the science of flight, and how you are going to stay up in the air! Written for the anxious flier, this pilot knows how to calm your nerves and uses facts to show you why your airplane journey is essentially the safest place you can be! Statistically, this book reminds you that the most dangerous part of your flight is the drive to the airport. So if you’re reading this at the airport right now — you’ve already done the hardest part!
Whether its full-on downward dog or a breathing exercise, there is no denying that yoga calms down your breathing, and can help fend off a panic attack. The morning of your flight, cut back on caffeine (if you can) and spend as little as five minutes slowing down your mind. If you have time, I recommended some hip-openers such as pigeon, lizard, or butterfly. Releasing tension in your hips can help ground your mind back to the reality of how safe flying is!