It was about three years ago when my ex won a voucher to Southwest Airlines. Being in a tight financial situation, we decided not to use it because it entailed more money than convenience. For instance, if we wanted to go to another state, we’d have to rent a car, pay for another round trip ticket, and get a hotel. Not to mention, we were there to ‘enjoy’ ourselves so food and tourist attractions required more money. I decided to use it on my own to visit my best friend and stay at her apartment. It saved me money and I had a good time. But little did I know, I was terrified of flying. It’s been years since I set foot on a plane. I was with friends so it never bugged me.
It wasn’t until I was alone, thousands of feet from the ground, braving every motion. So there I was, hyperventilating and concealing my fear.
The funny part is, I’m currently in the airport waiting to board to Los Angeles as my heart races. This is a quick flight; no use for a passport photo software, extra luggage or anything that entails long flights. But I wanted to shed light to those who share the same anxiety. Now, before I begin, I am still afraid of flying, but the more I do it, I better I cope.
1. Don’t hide it.
The second time I flew on my own, an agent helped me print my ticket. I told her that I’m so flustered because I’m terrified! She was so friendly about it that she had me repeat a mantra with her. “This too shall pass. I will get through this!” Her positive energy helped me feel better about my travel. Honestly, it’s nothing you should be embarrassed about. The more you tell people about, the more support you receive.
2. Turbulence is just like the bumps while you drive.
Every slight movement from a plane scared me. A shift to the left, right, or turbulence made me hyperventilate! But the more I flew, the more I realize that movement whether big or small is standard. The open air is not as smooth as we think it is. Sometimes, it will feel like they are bumps in the road because of the changes in the atmosphere. And that’s okay.
3. The plane will not just drop on its own.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this before– your car ride to the airport is more dangerous than flying. Think about it, you’re up above with nothing to crash on to you. With advanced engineering, a plane can’t simply stop and drop. And if for some very, very rare event its does engine give in, your pilot is trained to glide the cabin safely.
4. Distract yourself.
Long flights make it difficult to keep the ball rolling. Download games that don’t require internet, download music, movies, and books. As for me, I didn’t like hearing the plane’s engine so I made sure to listen to music throughout the entire ride.
5. The view is beautiful.
I’m not the type that sits next to the window. No thanks. But every time we’re about to land, I find myself less scared about looking outside. One way that helped me was thinking about how beautiful it was instead of the fear itself.