flight anxiety

5 Helpful Tips on Handling Flight Anxiety

You know the feeling: you sat in the window seat because it gives you a false sense of control. The pilot starts making announcements and the flight attendants review their usual instructions. For some, this is a mundane, no-big-deal thing. For others, like myself, we’re internally freaking out and hoping/praying we make it to our location safely. We’ve got flight anxiety.

It’s an irrational fear- one brought on my movies and tons of media blowing up our newsfeeds any time a plane crashes. But in reality, flying is the safest form of transportation. We understand this. It still doesn’t prevent us from slightly hyperventilating each time we hit turbulence.

I’ve flown thousands of miles across the country and world. I’m still scared sometimes getting on a flight. It’s been a fear of mine since I started flying. But I’ve learned some tips over the years that I hope can help you with your flight fears too.

flight anxiety

Conquer flight anxiety so you can have awesome adventures!

My Tips for Reducing Flight Anxiety

I. Create distractions. This seems simple enough, but challenging for those with flight anxiety. Most flights these days have in-flight wifi or movies in the headrest. Look up movie choices beforehand or purchase wifi and keep yourself distracted and entertained during the flight. I’ve noticed that when I have headphones in and get sucked into a good movie, the turbulence isn’t quite as terrifying when I can’t hear it.

II. Meditate. Take a long deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. It’s crazy how many benefits meditation has for your health overall, but it is a miracle worker in reducing stress and anxiety. Put on some zen music from youtube and focus on your breath. Feel your feet on the floor. Relax into your seat, and slowly calm yourself down. Seriously, this helps like you wouldn’t believe.

III. Skip caffeine. This is such a challenge because if you’re like me, you NEED coffee. It’s my morning ritual. But one time I had a chai latte with a double shot of espresso right before a flight and oh baby- it was terrible. My heart was racing, I felt dread and was basically having a mini panic attack. Skip the caffeine of any kind before flying because it will only make you more alert and jittery. That and anxiety do not help you whatsoever before flying. Grab a coffee when you get to your destination, but not before.

IV. Say no to liquor. So if you have a cross-country flight, none of us really want to fork up the $15 for a glass of cheap house wine anyway. But intercontinental flights sometimes have free beer and wine- don’t drink it. I know, you think it will calm your nerves, but it doesn’t. You will end up out of it and terrified at the same time. Again, not a good combo. Also, alcohol dehydrates you faster and just all around isn’t good for you when flying. Save the booze for the tropical drinks at your destination, not the plane.

V. Research what causes turbulence. One of my best friends has a dad and brother who are pilots. When they feel turbulence, they get excited. They talk about how interesting it is. They may be insane, but they also know that turbulence isn’t a big deal because they’re well educated with it. This article really helped me understand it and why it’s not a big deal. Also, sitting above the wing is the best spot if you want to feel the least amount of turbulence.  

I know, it’s still a terrifying experience at times, but with these tips, I hope you can overcome your flight anxiety and travel more! Please let me know about your flight anxieties in the comments! Be sure to share and subscribe.

flight anxiety

Just keep focusing on the destination and not the flight!

2 replies
  1. Gary
    Gary says:

    Great advice on the fear of turbulences. I was always so scared of them until a friend told me that he learned from a pilot how little there was to actually fear. The pilot described it to him like a car going over a speed bump. As far as saying no to liquor, I won’t argue with you that it isn’t a good idea for helping with anxiety while flying. I don’t have that issue as much as just being very uncomfortable in coach seats and a drink or two gets me through a lot easier!

    • Kat and a Backpack
      Kat and a Backpack says:

      Haha I know what you mean- coach can get pretty tight, and having liquor helps ease that for sure. And I love the analogy like a car going over a speed bump!


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