Beautiful view of land, water, sky, and clouds as seen from an airplane. Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

There's an amazing world out there! But many times, you have to fly to get where you want to be!

Is fear of flying holding you back from living your best life?

Learn ways to cope with the fear so you can enjoy travel to its fullest.

The Basics

Fear of flying is quite common, affecting 10-25% of the population.

It's a specific phobia, an intense fear that's disproportionate to the actual danger. For example, you may know and believe that flying is the safest form of transportation, but you're still convinced that your plane is unsafe.

Marge Simpson having trouble coping with fear of flying. She's pounding on the plane window, saying, Even Marge Simpson needs help.

To cope with it and even overcome it, you literally have to face the fear.

  • Avoidance keeps your phobia alive and intense

  • Exposure to the triggers that make you anxious helps you cope

Meet the Fearful Flyers

Esme

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Esme was just offered a work promotion. It's pretty much her dream job, but the new position will require monthly travel. Esme isn't sure if she should accept the job because she's afraid to fly so often.

Garth

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Garth is a college student and his university offers a study abroad program. He really wants to study in Europe and travel to various countries on weekends, but the flying involved makes him nervous.

Mia Flaticon Icon

Mia's sister lives 3,000 miles away and just had a baby. She's an aunt! Yay! 👶 Mia wants to be able to see her new nephew as often as possible, but the thought of flying scares her.

Let's help them cope with fear of flying and live their best lives!

Cope with Fear Tip #1

Learn helpful facts about airplanes and air travel.

GIF of a plane flying. This was the first animated GIF ever uploaded to the internet! It's true!

For many people, even the anticipation of flying can cause anxiety . Prepare yourself ahead of time by learning reassuring facts about airplanes and air travel.

Find out:

  • What are all those noises the plane engine makes?

  • What do the beeping tones mean?

  • What keeps a plane from falling out of the sky?

  • What causes turbulence?

  • What type of training do pilots undergo?

  • Anything that helps you feel better.

Characters from The Office TV show saying 'Information is Power.'

Knowing the answers to these types of questions can help you to feel more confident when flying. If anxiety or unrealistic thinking starts to kick in, you can reassure yourself with factual information.

Cope with Fear Tip #2

Control what you can.

Man talking into headset microphone and saying, I am in Control Now.

Making intentional choices about your flight can help you cope with fear:

  • Ask a travel agent or friend to book your flight.

  • Pay extra for a specific seat that you prefer.

  • Select non-stop flights or layovers, depending on which makes you more comfortable.

  • Try a short flight before you attempt a longer one.

  • Choose an amazing destination that you've always wanted to visit.

  • Take any other steps that help you feel more in control.

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Garth's Study Abroad Opportunity

One of the things that makes Garth nervous about traveling abroad is the long plane trip over the ocean. He wants to feel less anxious during the flight.

Quiz

What's one thing Garth can do to feel more in control?

Cope with Fear Tip #3

Use techniques to stay calm. Man practicing a breathing technique that could help you cope with fear of flying.

  • Learn mindfulness and breathing techniques before you fly. They'll help you prepare and will come in handy if you start to panic.

  • Listen to music during the flight. It helps block out noise and distracts you.

  • Bring a book, tablet, magazines, or crossword puzzles on board to keep your mind occupied.

  • Pray or meditate to help alleviate your worries.

  • Find an app that promotes calmness and use it during your flight.

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Esme's New Job

Esme accepted the promotion and she loves her new job! She needs to fly once a month. She has identified one of her triggers: she gets particularly nervous when she's at the airport waiting for her flight.

Quiz

What could she do to stay calm at the airport while waiting for her flight? Select all that apply.

Cope with Fear Tip #4

Seek out support.

Homer and Marge Simpson on an airplane. Homer is holding Marge's hand and saying,

  • Enroll in a course for fearful flyers. Some in-person groups meet at airports , while other courses can be found online.

  • Talk with a member of the crew. Flight attendants are trained to respond to nervous flyers.

  • Talk with a doctor about medication or cognitive behavioral therapy.

  • Travel with friends who understand your fear and will support you during the flight.

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Mia's Long-Distance Nephew

Mia plans to travel the 3,000 miles to visit her new nephew but she's going alone and is extremely fearful.

Quiz

What can Mia do to prepare for the trip? Select all that apply.

Take Action

Fear of flying is pretty common, but you can cope with your fear and overcome it if you put in some effort!

You'll be so glad you conquered your fear because you'll be able to live life more fully!

Prepare for your next flight:

Airplane with message On My Way

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