Flying back from Chicago last year, Mr.P and I found ourselves sitting apart. I turned to the gentleman sitting next to me and informed him, 'If you don't trade seats with my husband you will have to hold my hand during take off and landing, as well as any turbulence that might occur.' He traded seats with Mr.P. I'm not quite sure how to take that, but boy am I glad he did!
I put a bit of energy into being comfortable and creating a kind of cocoon around myself when I fly. I wear headphones, which block out the roar of the engines (and hopefully any signs of malfunction), wrap myself in a blanket and wear one of those neck pillows. These things may seem silly to you, but I assure you they help me.
Here are 10 more ways to chill out when you're nervous...
- Remember that big commercial airplanes are easy to fly. Mr.P has an airline captain as a client and he informed me, "Flying a commercial plane is like driving a bus. So easy, it's boring!"
- Turbulence is usually greater at the back of the plane, so book a seat as close to the front of the plane as you can.
- Remind yourself that air travel is the second safest mode of transportation in the world (second only to elevators and escalators). The chances of being in an accident are about one in 11 million. In a car, 1 in 5,000.
- Don't drink coffee or eat chocolate in the hours leading up to your flight. Caffeine will cause unnecessary nervousness.
- Breathe deeply--in through your nose and out through your mouth. Deep breathing can really calm your nerves. Nervous quick breathing can make you pass out.
- Did you know there are actually classes for fearful flyers?
- Prevent your mind from obsessively imagining worst-case scenarios by reading a book or watching a movie in the days or weeks coming up to your flight.
- Distract yourself from scary thoughts. Watch an in-flight movie, read, work a crossword or Sudoku puzzle. Make A-Z lists in your mind. From names, to towns, to descriptive fun words - works like a charm for take off and landing. By the time you're finished it's over!
- Picture exactly what you're going to do once you get off the plane. By focusing on what will happen after the flight, you can distract yourself from your jitters and mentally fast-forward through the event.
- If all else fails, take some meds and SLEEP. Ignorance is bliss in this case. Or have a giant glass of wine before the flight, whatever works for you - do it and explore the world!