I love traveling. And what's the fastest way to travel? Exactly: Using an airplane. So being afraid of flying sucks, because it can get in the way of a nice relaxing holiday. As a child, I didn't think about the (mostly irrational) dangers of being on an airplane. However, when I was 16 and had to board a flight to England for my language stay, I was more than terrified. It was the worst experience ever and - even better (not) - on the way home we flew directly through a thunderstorm. Everyone tried to calm me down, but nothing really worked and I panicked for about an hour. If this is a situation you know just too well, keep on reading.
So, between then and now, I went on airplanes over and over again. Most of the time, I fly short distance (Barcelona, London, Amsterdam and so on), but I've also done one of the longest flights - Switzerland to New Zealand. And that's how I overcame my fear - by being on an airplane. I'm sorry, but there's no secret remedy. However, I have some tips for you.
➳ Choose an airline you trust. This sounds silly, but it is so important! Security might be the most important thing for all of them, but YOU have to feel comfortable and safe on board the airplane. For different reasons, I mostly fly Swiss. I also liked Emirates a lot for my long haul flight to New Zealand.
➳ DON'T watch documentaries about plane crashes! I've seen so many episodes of air crash investigation and this is probably what caused my fear of flying in the first place. They might be very interesting, but can also be quite traumatising if you're a sensitive person like me.
➳ Choose a good companion for your flight. Someone that understands your fear and holds your hand during take off, turbulence and landing. Maybe explain your fear and tell them what they could do for you during the flight so you feel more comfortable and safe. I used to get really angry and started crying, so I had to make clear that it wasn't because of them, but that my fear caused those emotions.
➳ Try to calm down before even boarding the flight. I used to be so nervous before getting on the plane. I'm usually at the airport a bit too early, get something to eat and a magazine, sit down in front of the gate and watch people or listen to music. If you have someone with you, talk to them and try to forget the situation you're in.
➳ As you get on the plane, make yourself comfortable and prepare yourself for the flight. As soon as I sit down, I'll get my magazine and my mobile phone (in flight mode!) out and listen to some music. I try to ignore the stressed passengers as they only make me nervous with their behaviour.
➳ I always have a little plush animal with me (usually my raccoon which is my travel companion) that I squeeze in case I start panicking due to turbulence. Talking about turbulence: Close your eyes and imagine you're on a train that is a bit shaky. This helps me a lot.
➳ When you feel ready, try to fly by yourself. I was so nervous before doing this for the first time this year, but it really showed me that I made a huge step into the right direction. Now I love flying on my own.
➳ My last piece of advice: Enjoy the view you get and fly as often as you can! I added a few pictures that I took above the clouds. Feel free to look at them before you board a plane if it helps you to calm down and look forward to being on an airplane.
I hope that these tips were useful for some of you. If you have any questions concerning this topic, please leave them below. Last but not least: Don't feel discouraged if your fear comes back in certain situations. This happened to me back in June when we flew through a thunderstorm while landing in Zurich. I thought I was going to die and panicked. However, I'll fly again in September and I know that I'm going to be ok. I'm even thinking of becoming a cabin crew member at some point in my life - and this fear won't stop me! Lots of love, Selina ♥