‘I feel about airplanes the way I feel about diets. It seems to me that they are wonderful things for other people to go on’. Jean Kerr (Irish-American humourist)
Let’s come right out and say it: not everybody likes flying.
There are some who can’t wait to get on board, relax, close their eyes and start imagining their destination…
Then there are those who haven’t been on an aeroplane in years or who only fly reluctantly because they have a huge, irrational fear of flying.
How can you overcome your fear of flying?
Get informed, read the statistics, become an #AvGeek
It’s not an opinion, it’s not publicity, it’s a fact: aeroplanes are the safest means of transport in the world. The statistics are clear: travelling by plane is about 12 times safer than travelling by train, and 60 times safer than travelling by car.
Modern aeroplanes are equipped with all the necessary safety systems; indeed, they are twice as safe as they need to be. According to the principle of ‘Redundancy’, aeroplanes have several tools to perform each specific function in order to safeguard the integrity of the system as a whole if one tool gets damaged.
If you’re afraid of flying, our first piece of advice is to study and make sure you understand in-depth how aeroplanes work. If you read our #AvGeek column, you can immediately see that when you’re on board, even in adverse weather conditions such as snow or poor visibility, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.
In summary, we believe that the strongest weapon against irrational fear is… rationality.
Breathing, meditation, relaxation techniques
Never underestimate the power of your mind.
You already have the solution to the distress connected to your fear of flying and, more generally, to any form of fear: breathing.
Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Repeat this as many times as you need.
Try even now as you’re reading or tonight before you go to bed.
Air in, air out.
Stretch all your body parts, one by one. Start from your extremities (hands or feet), focusing on one individual muscle group at a time. Left foot, right foot, left leg, right leg, hands, arms, shoulders…
Progressive muscle relaxation, systematic desensitisation and autogenic training are some of the techniques used in psychotherapy to manage stress and anxiety, and foster self-control.
Try it to believe it, by yourself or with the help of an expert, if needed.
If you think that anxiety and fears are conditioning your life or threatening your mental or physical wellbeing, reach out to a specialist immediately.
Tackle anxiety in time
According to the Institute of Psychopathology in Rome, ‘anxiety disorders (panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorder and social anxiety) are the most widespread mental disorders in the world, with 270 million sufferers’.
When you check in for your flight, we often remind you to arrive at the airport well in advance, which might mean 1 or 2 hours, depending on whether your flight is domestic or international.
Running like crazy to reach the gate because you might miss your flight is never the right way to start a journey. If you’re an anxious person or have an irrational fear of flying, then adding unnecessary stress to your day is not what you need.
If you arrive earlier, you can even enjoy a break at the airport to eat a little snack or a quick lunch (no caffeinated coffee or tea!) before boarding. There’s some truth to the saying ‘Everything is better on a full stomach’.
Next, make sure you have a good book or another hobby you enjoy. A crossword magazine or your beloved sudoku will be just fine, but avoid video games and TV shows with zombies…
We’re trained for this
Perhaps only someone who’s had one can understand that panic attacks are to be taken very seriously.
It may help you to know that our crew is perfectly trained to manage a panic attack and to help you calm down, if needed.
You’re not alone on board.
If you know you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, please inform our crew before take-off, and they’ll be there to help and support you in any way they can.
One more quote to close this important article: