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4 Ways to Settle your Flying Nerves ahead of Holiday Season

16 May 2024

4 Ways to Settle your Flying Nerves ahead of Holiday Season

Most people this year won’t think twice about booking their summer getaway to some far away, warm destination. However, the charity Anxiety UK estimates that around 10% of the UK population suffers from ‘aviophobia’ or a fear of flying.*

It’s easy to understand where this anxiety comes from. When a flight goes wrong, it can go very wrong and usually has a spot on the news for a while. But flights going wrong are far rarer than you think.

That being said, after experiencing a dodgy flight in 2017, I can understand why people would prefer the comfort of a staycation. But like many people who suffer from flying anxiety, I don’t want it to be a forever feeling putting me off seeing the world.

If you fall into the flight anxiety camp, or haven’t flown for a while and are experiencing pre-flight jitters, there are a number of things you can start doing ahead of the summer season to get your mind prepared for flying. Once you’ve had a go at these handy tips and tricks, you might even find yourself itching to book a flight this year.

  • Remind yourself of the facts

If you’re tempted to take a train, drive a car or explore the options to travel somewhere by coach, you’re actually more likely to be in a fatal accident than if you fly. And it pays to remember this if you’re torn between booking a holiday abroad and listening to that voice in your head that’s telling you it’s not worth the anxiety.

Travelling by car is particularly dangerous, with estimates that it is 100 times deadlier than flying. Flying is still the safest form of transportation and with the accident rate as low as 0.80 per million across all sectors in 2023, which works out as one accident for every 1.26 million flights.**

It’s easy to forget about all of this when the media often fixates on air travel disasters. But it’s precisely because they are so rare that this is often the case.

So if you really want to travel the world, take a big breath and remind yourself of the facts. Air travel is not the disaster you think it’s going to be. In fact, you’re safer boarding a plane to Spain than driving across the M6.

  • Throw yourself in the deep end

The longer you fixate on something, the more likely that fear is going to build up in your head. There's a good reason why exposure therapy is often used as a treatment for a variety of psychological conditions.

Although it may initially seem counter intuitive for the nervous flyer, booking yourself onto a short flight may just be the type of exposure therapy you need to help manage your flying anxiety.

You don’t have to fly all the way to Australia, or for several hours. In fact, it’s better to start small with short flights and build up to longer journeys. After all, the more you do something, the easier it will get.

If you can, book yourself on a short flight with a trusted friend or loved one and after landing, you’ll wonder why you were so anxious in the first place.

  • Find a distraction that works

Distraction is also another way to cope with a fear because it draws your attention away from whatever you’re worrying about.

If you find that you’ve made your way onto the plane but are then fixating on all the things that could go wrong the best way to deal with this is to find a distraction.

Luckily, most commercial planes these days are filled with a range of films, TV programmes, music and games to distract you. Or why not even take a book or download several podcasts to keep you entertained?

As long as you’ve got an activity to focus on, this should help keep your mind in check and stop you recalling all the aviation disaster headlines from recent years.

  • Try a flying experience with an expert instructor

If the idea of boarding a large, commercial aircraft is too much, then why not start off smaller? It may seem a bit crackers at first, but a 1:1 flying experience with an instructor can help settle any flying nerves you may have.

This is because these types of experiences aren’t only led by passionate and experienced instructors, but aimed at getting you to understand the plane you’re in and how to fly it, especially if you opt for a flying lesson. Once you understand more about how planes work and all the checks that go on behind the scenes before take off, you might find yourself feeling more at ease when stepping onto a commercial plane.

Giving yourself the chance to learn about how planes work and experience flying in a small, scaled down session may settle your nerves before jumping on board a bigger aircraft. So why not try it?

If you’re convinced this may help you conquer your fear, why not book a Flying Lesson at a venue near you? Here at FlyDays we offer a range of experiences in microlights, vintage planes and gliders.

-Sources:*Anxiety UK, **IATA

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