Here at House of Coco – we’re all about facing your fears. But when it comes to a phobia of flying, irrational worries can ruin your trip before it’s even begun. Here are some hacks from our travel writer Beth on how to cope with your in-flight anxiety, so you can focus on enjoying the journey as well as the destination.
You’re more likely to be killed by a toaster than in a plane crash – a fact which does little to soothe my sweating palms as I board the plane. It begins like clockwork, a lingering anxiety that starts with a search for any ominous Final Destination style warning signs and ends with me sat rigid for hours, white-knuckled, every bump and sound playing out different doomsday scenarios in my head. That noise from below? Wheels have fallen off. That sudden bank? The start of an inevitable nosedive.
Sounds dramatic, but if, like me – you’re one of the one in four people in the UK who have a fear of flying, this might be all too familiar. Even at a time when air travel is safer than ever – worrying while hurtling through the sky at 35,000 feet in a metal tube seems pretty logical to me. But fear should never force you to forgo any opportunity to see the world. If you too love travel but hate to fly, here’s five hacks to help manage your fears and make flying more bearable…
1. Noise-cancelling headphones
Ever watched a horror film with the sound off and realised how even something as horrifying as Saw can suddenly seem a whole lot less scary? For me, it’s the same with the noise from a plane. Take away the clunks and clangs and you’ll stop the sneaky hypothetical doom spiral.
2. Fight fear with facts
If you flew with British Airways from London to New York in an Airbus A380 every day, you’d expect to last 24,484 years before you went down. This is according to the App ‘Am I Going Down’ which tells you exactly what the odds of your specific flight crashing are. While statistics don’t work for some, they can be helpful – try to remind yourself that you’re more likely to win the lottery than be involved in a plane accident.
3. Teach yourself to treat yourself
Most fearful flyers are afraid of in-flight mechanical issues during flight. A better understanding of how an aircraft works can help you learn to overcome your fears – it gets pretty scientific, but the long and short of it is that planes don’t just fall out of the sky, can land safely with just one or no engines and turbulence is not dangerous.
4. Consider help to calm your nerves
#TeamCoco aren’t advising you stumble onto the plane steaming, but in moderation, alcohol can help to take the edge off your anxiety (mine comes in the form of two large pre-flight glasses of red). It also helps to ensure you’re relaxed before the flight – if you aren’t flying business, you can purchase a lounge pass, or set up camp in a quiet corner of an airport restaurant, but give yourself enough time to really wind down. If you are suffering particularly badly, consider seeing a doctor who can prescribe some anxiety medication – just be careful not to ever combine the two unless you want to re-enact that scene from Bridesmaids.
5. Think about the destination
We’re lucky to live in such a well-connected world. Whenever I’m anxious, I try to remind myself that a few hours of discomfort is a small price to pay for being able to visit family and friends in far-off countries, discover new destinations and explore the world with such ease.