I have AVIOPHOBIA , ACROPHOBIA, CLAUSTROPHOBIA and AGORAPHOBIA, the fear of flying, heights, small spaces, and not being able to escape. Throw in a few dozen snakes and Samuel Jackson and you have a hit action movie.
You can imagine how fun it is to sit beside me on a plane.
This list of FEARS from Wikepedia accurately sums up what goes through my head every time I squeeze my ass into a far TOO SMALL airplane seat.
The fear of flying may be created by various other phobias and fears:
- Fear of crashing, which most likely results in death, is the most common reason for the fear of flying.
- Fear of closed in spaces (claustrophobia), such as that of an aircraft cabin
- Fear of heights (acrophobia)
- Feeling of not being in control
- Fear of vomiting, where a person will be afraid that they’ll have motion sickness on board, or encounter someone having motion sickness and have no control over it (such as escaping it)
- Fear of having panic attacks in certain places, where escape would be difficult and/or embarrassing (agoraphobia)
- Fear of hijacking or terrorism
All and any one of these things cause me grief during my flight and in the days leading up to it. In the past four weeks I have been on seven planes, so basically I haven’t slept in one month. I get horrible insomnia, I have mild panic attacks when I think about it; sprinkle that with a splash of paranoia. Good times for all.
I have often gone the Marie Poppins route when flying (see above), substituting Gravol for Valium , but this isn’t the wisest — even though it can be fun — solution.
There are those who recommend “fear of flying” classes or consult my doctor for proper (safe) meds. Instead I try to treat myself, and over many years and many flights have come up with 5 tips to help with a fear of flying.
Music is key. Invest in a great pair of headphones and NEVER forget to pack them. Create a “Flying” play list on your device. Mine is made up of old school hip hop, a little Beyonce, and some Ron White stand up comedy bits. I laugh out loud and boogey down in my 18.5 inches of personal space. No loud talkers, crying babies, or squeaky beverage cart wheels disturb my flights.
Maximize distractions! If it’s a long flight, watch the movies — even the awful ones that had no business being bankrolled — bring magazines or a book, do some crosswords or take on the devil of puzzles – Sudoku.
SIT UP FRONT
When booking your seats, pick the rows closest to the front of the plane if possible. Turbulence feels a lot stronger the farther back you sit in a plane. It may sound silly, but it helps.
VISUALIZE YOUR DESTINATION
Take the time onboard to read up about your destination. The more you read and imagine the great places you’ll see, the more excited you are about landing, and the shorter the flight will seem. Before departure, print info about restaurants to try, sites to see, and any amenities available at your hotel . This helps remind you of the joy and adventure that’s so wonderful about travel.
TELL THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS
This is my favourite tip! Don’t wait until you’re at cruising altitude and having a panic attack to talk to the flight attendants about your fears. Let them know as you’re taking your seat. If you let your flight attendant in on your fear of crashing to the ground in a twisted burnt wreck, they’ll supply you with a free libation or two. Even if it’s just to knock you out so you won’t share your fears with your seat mate.
I know my fears are irrational, and all logic and stats tell me plane travel is far safer than driving, but these are my fears, and fears generally scoff at logic. I try to have a sense of humour about it, and we all know that laughter is the best medicine, and try to laugh on a plane…far better than snakes on a plane.
I leave you with one of my favourite clips from one of my fave comics, Ron White.
Cheers and Safe Travels!