OVERCOMING FEAR OF FLYING
By Lenny J. Moore, NLP, Ph.D, Scientific Clinical Hypnotherapist
Over the past year many airplane incidents have made me afraid of flying, but my lifestyle requires frequent air travel. How should I deal with the fear?
Aerophobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of flying. Sufferers experience severe anxiety even though they usually realize that the flying does not pose a threat commensurate with their fear. A very common fear easily cured by Hypnotherapy.
This article has several very accurate explanations of the improbability of aircraft accidents in general. However, your question very honestly conveys how you’re feeling right now rather than what you think about flying itself. Let me offer a slightly different strategy for you to try that’s a little more personal and a little less cerebral.
One of the main reasons commercial flying is as safe as it is these days is because a great deal of effort is made to do things the same way every time. Consistent adherence to checklists and standard operating procedures translates into minimization of known, controllable risk.
What I’d like to suggest is that you pick up on that same repeated rhythm for yourself, both by watching the check-in and cabin personnel doing the same tasks the same way every flight and by doing your own preparation the same way for every travel day:
- Try to book a seat either near the wings (smoothest ride) or as far back as you can, preferably in as close to the same general location every time. If the view out the window is unsettling, always try for an aisle seat. That also can facilitate later boarding (see below).
- Pack the night before each flight as much as you can so you only have a few things to toss in your luggage on the day of the flight.
- Leave home or your hotel so as to get to the airport well ahead of when you need to be there so you don’t get stressed by rushing (if that means getting up early, you can always nap on the plane).
- Check as much as you can afford to check — only carry what you absolutely have to carry if at all possible so you don’t feel like you have to be constantly vigilant (or tied to a single seat in the waiting area because you have so much hand luggage). This also can facilitate later boarding (see below).
- Bring along some kind of music you enjoy; it’s a pleasant distraction, but it’s also kind of pleasant to watch the choreography of aircraft and ground vehicles outside the terminal window when it’s accompanied by music.
Delay boarding for as long as you can. If you’re traveling light and can slide into your seat easily, wait until the herd has all elbowed its way aboard, then stroll on like the seasoned traveler you are.
- Always make a point of saying “hello” to whichever member of the crew is greeting passengers when you board. Looking a crewmember in the eye is nice for both of you — they appreciate the personal connection, and you’ll have your first contact with one of the people who will be working to make your flight go smoothly.
- Have the things you want in your seat with you in your hand or readily available as you walk to your seat; toss the rest in the overhead compartment and settle in.
- Fasten your seatbelt and pull out the emergency procedure card from the pocket in front of you. See where you are relative to the nearest two exits. Count the number of rows to those exits.
Plug back into your music, close your eyes, and do whatever feels right to you for relax — pray, meditate, groove to the tunes, or whatever. Listen to the safety briefing when it’s presented, but if you’re a regular traveler you shouldn’t need to watch the video or live demo if you’ve briefed yourself on the exits.
- When the cockpit crew offers their greetings, listen to what they say about what they’re expecting for the flight. In the rare cases where they’ve been advised of some possible bumps en route, most likely their standard procedure will be to say that up front, possibly along the lines of, “We’re going to be delaying cabin service for a bit for the safety of our cabin crew,” or “We’ll be leaving the seatbelt light on for a while once we reach cruising altitude.” If you know what they’re readying themselves for, you can be ready, too.
- Always keep your seatbelt fastened. Period. I do, and you should, too. That way you’re always ready for the unexpected — awake or asleep — and you’ll stay where you belong if you run into any turbulence.
- Develop a habit of either eating or not eating on your flights, and stick to it either way. Drink water any time it’s offered.
If you can avoid doing work on a flight, don’t. You don’t need to put that pressure on yourself. However, if you’re the kind of person who would prefer the distraction of work, sure, go for it. Just don’t make it something that has to be done when you reach your destination — again, that’s stress you don’t need.
- About an hour before landing hit the rest room, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. That’ll become a habit, and you’ll find yourself a lot more comfortable if something delays your landing and you’re roaring around at lower altitude with the seatbelts light on for an extended period.
- More and more the airlines and the “air navigation service providers” (i.e., air traffic control) are working together to try to bring aircraft down from cruise into the arrival mix with one long, smooth descent; that’s more efficient for all concerned and more comfortable for passengers. Expect to start a descent somewhere between 45 and 30 minutes prior to whenever the crew said you’ll be landing, and see if you can pick up on the slightly different sound of the engines or how you perceive the angle of the aisle (looking “downhill” or level instead of level or “uphill”).
After landing, don’t leap out of your seat — you’re going to be a while, and if you checked luggage you’ll be swinging by the baggage area anyway, so what’s the rush?
Remember that the news media show a very distorted and biased view of the world. Mostly they focus on the most sensational aspects and events because they are in a constant battle for your attention. Presenting a reasoned and rational view of the world doesn’t pay their rent, so you won’t see it from them.
For every one-airplane accident you see on the news there are literally millions of flights that arrive safely. You’re more likely to have an accident in your car than in an airliner, but many people feel because they are driving, they have some control over that. Just remember, that’s what the person who runs into was thinking, too.
As a passenger in the back of the executive mailing tube called an airliner, it’s hard to feel like you’re in control of anything, but there are some things you can have control over, if you want to take it.
- You can stay on the ground — remember the pilot flying the plane has many years of experience and wants to come home as much as you do. He or she will not leave if it doesn’t feel safe. However, if you have a bad feeling about something, listen to it and skip the flight. Sure that could be expensive, but you made a choice based on the information available to you. You took control.
- You can decide where and when you want to fly — when making a reservation, avoid airports that get bad weather and avoid flying at night. Again, you might not get to where you want to go, but you’ll have taken control. Will it make a difference? It will to you.
- You can learn more about the system — so you don’t want to stay on the ground and you have to go someplace that gets bad weather. OK, you can learn how much training the flight crew has to deal with those situations and how much preparation is involved to keep them as safe as possible. Pilots take their job very seriously and are constantly training. You don’t see this from the airport lounge, but airline pilots have to pass a physical exam and a flying proficiency test every 6 months. The airplanes are also constantly being inspected and serviced. Nobody wants a plane to crash and everyone is working hard to keep it safe. Again, it’s the rare exceptions you read about in the news, not the overwhelming majority.
- Be an informed and aware passenger — Know where to sit in the plane. Know how to operate the supplemental oxygen mask. Know where the emergency exits are (did you count the rows of seats between you and the two nearest exits?) Know where the life jacket is (and how and when to use it). All of this takes about 1 minute to do while you’re waiting for everyone else to sit down. But, in doing so, you’ve just taken control and improved your chance of survival–for that 1 in 45 million chance that you might need to use it
I personally opt for options 3 & 4, most of the time, but I also consider 1 & 2, when making plans. And then I sit back, relax, and enjoy the quiet time.
What goes into the average preparation of an airplane flight before, during, and after?
I am terrified of flying so maybe knowing the details will make me feel safer. Being scared or nervous about flying isn’t uncommon. Via Quora, I’ve been asked about different aspects of the passenger experience from different directions on several occasions. You aren’t alone.
Lenny Moore gives you a good overview of the preparation process. The point he makes that I’d like to underscore for you is the emphasis everyone has on doing everything exactly the same way, usually by direct reference to checklists, no matter what their duties are associated with a given airplane or flight.
If you happen to be aboard a plane that stops somewhere en route to your destination, and the crew changes while you’re waiting for the next leg, watch the new crewmembers as they board. They’ll stow their bags, pull out checklists, and start going over the aircraft. The cabin crew isn’t just counting little bottles of wine; they systematically check the condition and inspection date of every single piece of cabin equipment that might be needed for routine or emergency use. Up front, the flight crew will settle in, make sure the switches are all where they’re supposed to be after the previous crew was done (they virtually always are, but you have to check), then they’ll start entering data into the aircraft’s flight management system in preparation for engine starting (by the numbers), pre-taxi, taxi and pre-takeoff checks (by the numbers).
At the same time, you can look outside and see either the pilot or the first officer making a walk-around inspection outside the aircraft; that’s a back-up to the work done by the maintenance personnel. Everything will be confirmed closed, locked down, and flight-ready by one of the folks actually flying the aircraft. Since the exterior work, refueling and baggage loading themselves follow prescribed steps, there’s rarely anything to see… but the checks are made and taken seriously regardless.
Lots of people want to get you to your destination as safely and as comfortably as possible. Nobody expects people who are nervous about flying to just think their way past being afraid, but you’re taking the right approach: the more you know, and the more questions you ask, the better equipped you are to help yourself feel better about it.
To date, hypnotherapy is the quickest, most natural and best way to overcome your fear or phobia of flying. The fear of flying can be usually be cured in one or two sessions by a good hypnotherapist, states Scientific Clinical Hypnotherapist Lenny Moore. For free phone consultation call (305) 797-3592 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org