The intensity and cause of aviophobia differs from person to person. Some might be afraid of being in a tight space high up in the air. Some people fear that they will get sick and even vomit. Those with sensitive ears dread their ears popping, others fear not having an escape if they have a panic attack. Generally it is not being in control that is the most frightening. So unless you are the pilot there will always be some measure of anxiety.
Here are three ways to help you overcome the fear of flying
- Be informed,
- Manage your Anxiety
- Plan your trip
Did you know that your chances of dying in a plane crash are about 1 in 14 million and 1 in 30 million when flying in a developed country? Compare that to your chances of being killed in a motor car accident which is estimated at 1 in 5 000. Your chances of dying of food poisoning is at 1 in 3 million. It is also good to know that the number of civil air crashes has been going down every year, since 1944. The truth is that no other form of transportation is as scrutinized, investigated and monitored as commercial aviation. Statistics and figures prove that airline transportation is the safest way to travel.
Another important thing to know is what to expect with turbulence. Turbulence occurs when a plane flies through an area of low pressure to high pressure. It is basically like driving on a rocky road. Nothing to fear though. If you wear your seat belt when prompted to do so, you should be perfectly safe.
It could also help you to learn more about how a plane works. Studies show that 73% of people who are afraid of flying are afraid that the plane will malfunction. The good news is that jet engines are much simpler than the engines you'll find in a car and should something go wrong with one of the plane's engines, the plane will function just fine with its remaining engines.
Manage your Anxiety
Accept the fact that someone else, and in this case a well trained and experienced pilot, is in control.
When anxious your muscles will tighten up as we pull our shoulders toward our neck. Take a deep breath and focus on releasing the tension in these areas.
Go to your happy place, think of a place that is relaxing and pleasant. Focus on the smells, the sounds and the sights of this beautiful place. If you don’t have a happy place, think about the people you are going to meet when this plane lands. The sights you will see. What you will wear for dinner tonight.
Try yoga or meditation to reduce anxiety in your everyday life. This will give you the tools you need to cope with your fear of flying.
Try classes where a professional councillor helps you to get accustomed to flying by exposure to an airport and a flight. This is basically desensitising you and helping you to face your fears.
Stop watching programmes about plane crashes. These stories will only add to your anxiety. Don’t indulge your fears.
Planning your trip
Book a direct flight. This means that you won’t have any transfers to worry about and your trip will be much shorter.
Choose a seat over the wing. This will guarantee a smoother flight as this area is more stable which lessens the effect of turbulence. An aisle seat or exit row seat will make you feel less trapped.
Choose a larger flight with a larger plane. The bigger the plane, the smoother your flight will be.
Choose a daytime flight. Being able to look out of the window might reduce some anxiety.
Flying is one of the wonders of the modern age and each aeroplane we see or fly on is the fulfilment of a dream come true for human kind. The fact that commercial aviation is the safest way to travel and the wonder of man traveling through the air, should encourage us to overcome our fears and enjoy the journey.
SA Express provides an extensive feeder network in support of its alliance partnership with South African Airways to the majority of destinations in South Africa and regionally. The airline’s relationship with SAA has always been one of close cooperation which provides numerous benefits for both local and international visitors. Not only does the SAA alliance partnership entitle customers to Voyager benefits, flight schedules are coordinated to provide hassle-free services, which include ticketing, check-in facilities, mutual branding and flight codes.