The source of a fear of flying is often the combination of an uninformed mind and a fertile imagination. For some people in the lead up to flying, their minds can be filled with all types of terrifying thoughts about catching a flight. Here, we will look at some ways that you can beat you fear of flying.
I previously suffered from anxiety which took the form of nightmares about getting to the airport with only minutes to check in and finding that I didn’t have my passport with me.
It is possible that you could have similar thoughts which you may identify as irrational, like the aircraft engines malfunctioning halfway through the flight, the plane coming under fire from the ground and being shot out of the sky, or even the plane being exposed to an onboard threat like being hijacking by terrorists.
In your current frame of mind, it doesn’t matter that flyings one of the safer modes of transport around; you are simply consumed with dread and terror at the thought of flying. As a result, you could very likely miss out on going to that dream destination, a special event like a wedding or a reunion, or maybe even a critical business meeting.
To help you take steps and to beat your fear of flying, here are some easy options that you can apply both during the flight and in the lead up:
- Meditation, breathing exercises and visualization
- Distracting yourself using things like books, magazines, music, and movies
- Avoiding sugary foods and drinks, caffeine and other stimulants
- Avoiding alcoholic beverages during the flight
However, if you believe that these steps are stopping a little short of the mark to help you conquer your fear, you can take other options that do tend to be more expensive but are also extremely effective, such as:
Beat your fear of flying with a course
This is one of the best ways to deal with the anxiety you feel and beat your fear of flying. There are targeted courses that deal directly with the uncertainties that cause a fear of flying. These courses are offered by the bigger airlines, such as Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. My personal favorite is the Fearless Flyer course run by Qantas.
The courses can range in price from as little as $400 and up to $950. For some, they can be quite expensive, but with their success rate in helping people beat their fear of flying being as high as between 96% and 98%, you should give this option some serious thought if you really want to conquer your fear of flying.
So what would you expect to encounter as a part of a fear of flying course?
You’ll get to spend time with professionals who work in the industry like pilots, aircraft engineers, cabin crew, and qualified psychologists. These people will spend time educating you and guiding you on the specific details of different aircraft and the process of flying.
Through this course, you’ll be better equipped to understand the source of your fear and how to effectively deal with it. You will also get to see behind the scenes at an aviation facility to better understand the supporting functions.
You’ll get to personally examine an airplane, and be taught how the science of flight works. Most importantly for many who suffer from a fear of flying, you’ll get to learn about the emergency procedures in a flight.
To help with any anxiety that remains, a professional psychologist will be there to help you learn how to relax and manage any stress you may encounter while flying. The course culminates in your taking a short flight when the time is right and that you are deemed ready to fly!
Exposure Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
If you believe that courses and education about aircraft and all things flight-related will not help you beat your fear of flying, then an option you could consider would include other types of therapy.
One such type is of therapy that gets good results is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This therapy helps with addressing your thought processes around flying and works to restructure them so the feelings and behaviors you have about flying are more realistic and positive.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves three primary steps:
- Recognize the negative thoughts
- Analyze and confront the negative thoughts, and
- Replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
Exposure Therapy is more direct in how it approaches the situation. As a person who suffers from a fear of flying, you understand that your primary reaction is to avoid flying completely. The method applied in exposure therapy is one where you will be put face to face with the basics of flight, and eventually, you will step up and actually take a flight.
The theory behind Exposure Therapy is that with your exposure to the sights and sounds of flying being done repeatedly, you’ll become desensitized as a part of the process. It really is simply about building familiarity. Exposure Therapy normally begins with lower level or more mild forms of exposure.
This could include viewing photographs of planes or watching videos about flying. Gradually you will build up to being shown around the airport, booking yourself a flight, and then the next step of boarding a plane. Your Exposure Therapy may also see you experience a flight in virtual reality with all the trimmings including turbulence and a range of weather conditions.
Bump Yourself up to Business Class
Given the price tag for a business class or even first class flight, for many, it seems almost counterintuitive as the price is concern enough. However, taking a business class or first class flight can help your flight be much less stressful and maybe even fun.
Compared to coach, you’ll be pampered by the cabin crew during your flight, and the onboard entertainment system will help distract your attention away from any fears you have. On this type of fare the delicious meals you will be served, and the complimentary wine or champagne can do a lot to alleviate any anxieties.
Add to that the extremely comfortable seats and ample legroom; in some cases, they even have seats that convert into beds. If it is within your means, you should consider a business class or first class flight to help you beat a fear of flying.
As stated in the opening, these suggestions may be competitively expensive, but if you really are set on the desire to beat your fear of flying, then a higher than general admission cost should not sway you from pursuing these alternative routes.