How to Alleviate In-Flight Anxiety

By Taline Loschiavo

Illustrations by Sanja Dubroja

Take comfort in knowing that there are a number of ways to conquer aerophobia, fear of flying. You don’t need to let in-flight anxiety stand in the way of your travel dreams! Here are five easy proactive steps to help manage your anxiety surrounding flying. 

Understand Your Triggers

Check in with yourself, and you might be surprised by what you discover. Different aspects of flying can trigger varied fears. One person may be concerned with the spread of germs. For others, airplanes could fuel their fear of heights.

Try journaling—writing out your thoughts and anxieties is a great way to ease tension or talk it out with a friend. They may offer you some key perspective that will ultimately help you figure out where your fears stem from. Understanding your fears is the first step to conquering them. 

Exercise Before Your Flight

Exercise is a great way to  reduce anxiety. For one, physical activity releases endorphins, which make you happier. Secondly, exercise can help tire you out and make you feel settled and rested for your flight. 

Distract Yourself

During your flight, try reading your favorite book, or enjoying a downloaded episode of your favourite podcast or TV show. The goal is to make your flight fun, while keeping your mind busy in a healthy way. 

Illustration of person's hand holding a book in front of plane window

Keep Yourself Occupied

Use your time during the flight to tidy up a few items, without the incursion of on-ground distractions. Even an hour-long flight can be sufficient to organize photos on your phone, brainstorm ideas for handmade birthday gifts, or channel your inner artist by doodling on a piece of paper.

Employ Relaxation Remedies

Smell and taste can be a great source of relaxation for many, since certain scents and tastes can trigger happy memories. To help you relax, dab some lavender oil on your wrists and temples before the flight. Maybe chew gum of a certain flavour that reminds you of your childhood. Sipping on herbal tea can be helpful as well—especially over coffee or alcohol. Be sure to ask the Porter crew to serve you a cuppa of comfort once you’re onboard. 

Illustration of a cup and mugs of tea

Learn How Planes Work 

Use facts to fight your fears. Do your research on how planes operate. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way in understanding why the plane makes certain sounds during landing, or what exactly turbulence is.  

Illustration of front view of a plane, with its landing wheels down

Carry Photos of Your Destination

Sometimes the best way to mitigate flying anxiety is to remember why you’re on a plane in the first place. Visualization can be a very powerful tool, so bring photos of your destination, to get excited about your trip. Whether you carry  physical photos or download digital photos on your phone, they can help keep your mind from wandering back towards your fears. Imagine yourself already there, and stay focused on the prize: the amazing trip you’re about to experience!