Fear of Flying? Overcome your fear in 3 Simple Steps

People can love traveling, but have a deep fear of flying. Some dislike it more than others, but I’m sure that we all have that thought crossing our minds that an accident could happen.

For some people, the thought just passes quickly through the mind, while for others the thought won’t leave them until they have landed safely.

The fear of flying is actually more common than people think, and can be a real pain.

Here are 3 simple steps that can help you overcome the fear of flying, and make that nervousness disappear…

Step 1 – Prepare

Other than preparing mentally yourself, you also have to prepare those around you. If you’re very scared of flying, let the attendants know about it.

They will be more than understanding, and they will do everything they can to make your journey as comfortable as possible and try to make you feel that you’re in safe hands.

Before the flight, you can also politely ask if you can meet your pilot. The pilot can tell you what to expect on your particular flight.
Knowing who is flying you might make you feel safer as well, and make it easier to trust him/her.

Another side note that can make you feel any safer knowing is that pilots are known to be the biggest control freaks of all!

Step 2 – Breathe

A smart, quick and effective way to calm your nerves on a plane to eliminate fear of flying is to do some deep breathing. There are many ways to do this, but the importance is that you breathe deeply and relax.

Here is a routine we find effective in similar situations:

  • Close your eyes.
  • Put your tongue on the roof of the mouth, inhale through the nose as deep as you can (10 seconds).
  • Hold for 2 seconds. Exhale slowly while drawing the number 3 three times in your mind.

Do this again, but imagine drawing number 2 three times – finally do this a third time, imagining drawing number 1 three times.

Step 3 – Remind Yourself Of The Four False Facts

We’ve all experienced our minds getting swept away and blowing things out of proportion, starting to picture accidents in the head. When your mind starts to mess with you and you get these uncomfortable thoughts that makes you nervous.

Below are some typical and common things people worry about (including myself), and after some research I found that there is no need to worry:

- What if there is something broken on the plane?

There are aircraft mechanics making detailed inspections between every flight, and they repair broken parts as needed. The mechanics never settle for a “quick fix”, but make sure to always do a very careful job, anything else is forbidden by strict laws – and nobody would want to stand for having done a bad job.

- What if the plane crashes?

Flying is safer than driving, and is actually quite safe compared to most forms of travel in general. The statistics of accidents are very low, and keep in mind that almost 30,000 people are up in the air at this very minute.

Every single flight is planned in such a way that if an engine was to fail, the plane must still have enough performance to fly safely. Pilots are trained to handle engine failures in every phase of flight.

- What if the plane engines stop in an air pocket?

A very common thing that worries people and is the reason to many people’s fear of flying is “air pockets”. Have you ever felt as though the plane fell into a pocket? I’ve heard rumors that the plane engines can stop spinning if the air pocket is too big, or if there are too many of them. This, however, I have now understood to be a myth.

There are no such things as air pockets, they are a complete myth. There is always air for support. Have you ever walked down the street and all the sudden found yourself in an air pocket where you can’t breath?

- What if the plane all the sudden just stops working and falls off the sky?

Planes simply cannot do this. There is always several backup systems, and even if none of them work (which is very unlikely), the plane can still glide for up to 100 miles from cruise altitude of 30,000 feet.

In fact, it’s actually pretty common that they don’t use the engines at all at times and let the plane glide to save fuel.

Learn To Let Go & Trust

There isn’t much more you can do now than to just relax your mind and body. Holding tightly to the armrests does nothing to stabilize the plane. The plane is already designed to fly steady.

When you find yourself tensing up, let go.

Do you have fear of flying, or do you have any tips to those who do?

12 Responses to Fear of Flying? Overcome your fear in 3 Simple Steps

  1. GlobalButterfly December 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    Thank you for this, sending it to my Mom! :)

    • Sofia December 18, 2010 at 9:59 am #

      Great, I hope she finds use for it as well.
      It’s crazy how many of us have that fear, and it’s really sad because it limits you so much when it comes to travel.

      • Jase December 18, 2010 at 10:46 am #

        this is also the reason my mother doesn’t travel much either, I think its a real shame :(

        • As We Travel December 19, 2010 at 8:37 am #

          Hi Jase,
          yeah it’s a shame. I think the best cure for this is to just do it and get used to it. Perhaps your mum would feel a little better knowing that many of these rumors are false?

  2. Claire December 18, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    what great tips Nathan, I will make sure to test some of these next time I am flying. Have had problems in the past, and these sound like great tips.

    • As We Travel December 19, 2010 at 8:39 am #

      Thanks Claire, I’m glad you found them useful. Good luck and have a great flight!

  3. Matt December 18, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    This is really good. As someone who suffers from the fear of flying I found this to be very calming. Of course I wasn’t reading it on a plane ready for take off either. I’m a little less comforted though to know that my arm rest clutching does nothing to stabalize the plane. One of the best sites on the fear of flying is http://www.fearofflyinghelp.com which was put together by an airline captain. It’s a free program and something I go through every time I prepare to fly.

    • Nathan December 19, 2010 at 9:41 am #

      thanks for sharing that link. i am sure many ppl will also find it useful!

  4. OneGiantStep December 19, 2010 at 1:07 am #

    I have a fear of flying AND traveled around the world for a year last year! I just took a big breath and told myself I had to do it. I admit that I used pharmaceuticals and alcohol but I can also report that it got better through the year. One of the things I wanted in my trip was to feel uncomfortable…well for sure I did for those 16 flights!! These are good tips..thank you. Cheers!

    • As We Travel December 19, 2010 at 8:44 am #

      That’s awesome!

      It’s so good to see that the fear you have doesn’t stop you from doing what you really want, and I do believe that by simply doing it over and over again you can get rid of that fear completely.

      I’m glad you liked the tips, and I hope they can help calming your nerves a little next time you fly!

  5. enrolled agent cpe December 28, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    I definitely have to share the Four False facts to my aunt who hasn’t left California for thirty years! She has all these worries and fears on her head. I’m guessing her mindset is still stuck on the old school technology and probably not seen the latest in flying technology.

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