Tips to overcome your fear of flying

Tuesday 7th June, 2016

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About one in five people in the UK suffer from aviophobia. Here are a few practical tips to help overcome your fear you flying

Image: Ingrid Fadelli
  • Stay hydrated, drink as much water as you can.
  • Take slow, deep breaths. Breathing exercises can help you relax on board.
  • Before the date of your travel, try mindfulness meditation or relaxation. So by the time you board you will feel less uneasy.
  • Listening to your favourite music.
  • Familiarise yourself with flying procedures until you feel comfortable with them.
  • Medication can help in the short run, but it is not a permanent solution.
  • Think about your destination rather than the journey.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, coffee or tea.
  • Try to avoid fighting your fears too much. Relax your body and follow the aircraft’s movements.

SOME WAYS TO PERMANENTLY OVERCOME AVIOPHOBIA:

Behavioural therapy or exposure therapy:

A therapist will guide you through gradual exposure of your fear, helping you face your anxiety. Studies found this therapy to be effective in more than 90% of cases.

Confidence courses:

British Airways and other airlines offer courses that explain flight procedures to people with aviophobia. At the end of the session, passengers are taken on a short flight (e.g. from Heathrow to Gatwick), during which procedures are explained. They claim a 98% success rate.

Hypnosis or hypnotherapy:

The fear of flying is tackled through multiple hypnosis sessions. Those with aviophobia are hypnotised and guided through a hypothetical flight to analyse their emotions as they experience it.