Whether it be the heights, the enclosed space or simply a fear with unknown reasons, flying isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on travel opportunities, key business meetings or visiting the grandkids on the other side of the country.
Here are a few tips for a smoother flight ...
If you book an aisle seat, not only will it be harder to steal a glance out of the window, but you’ll also feel more free and able to move around. You can pre-book your seat upon making your booking (at an extra charge), during online check-in that opens 24 hours prior to your flight, or at the airport. If you wait for the last option, please note you may not be able to get your preferred seat as this operates on a first come, first served basis.
Keep your mind occupied from overthinking the situation. Read a book or magazine, watch a movie on your tablet or plug in your earphones to listen to your favourite music.
Extra energy could mean more jitters. Swap the coffee at the airport or from the snack trolley on the plane for something a little more soothing, such as rooibos or camomile tea.
Don’t forget that dehydration can also exacerbate anxiety, so keep a bottle of water handy.
The more comfortable you feel on the plane, the more your body will relax. Take off your shoes to avoid discomfort from swollen ankles, bring along a scarf or jersey in case it gets cold in the cabin, and recline your chair after take-off so that you can lean back and enjoy your flight.
If you’re feeling anxious, your breathing may become shallow and fast, which could lead to hyperventilation. Slowly breathe in for five counts and breathe out again for the same number. This will slow your breathing and allow your mind to focus on a simple activity.
Close your eyes and you may even be surprised with a gentle snooze as your fear dissipates.
Mango Airlines regularly hosts Flying without Fear courses designed to help people overcome fears related to air travel. Motivational speaker Damon Beard, along with a team of two airline captains and a clinical psychologist, will guide you through a one-day workshop with tools and techniques to use when your anxiety kicks in.
Please note that these tips are not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional. If you suffer from severe anxiety when it comes to flying, please contact a medical professional or a counsellor who specialises in such disorders.