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Tessa Pesicka / Her Campus

How to Ease Anxiety When You’re Flying

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bryant chapter.

NBC reports that 25% of the United States population experiences some level of flying anxiety.

A quarter of the population! See, you’re not alone. It’s common to get anxious when you’re 30,000 feet in the air. What do you do to calm these nerves?

If you have tried everything you could think of to reduce your flight anxiety and nothing seems to work, check out our suggestions.

We challenge you to try them again even if you already have. Maybe you can find a new perspective towards flying with our tips!


Trust the statistics and face the facts

Plane mishaps happen less than the news may lead you to believe. It’s actually said that you are safer in a plane than in a car! Use the information out there about the likelihood of plane collisions or inconveniences to your advantage – the odds are on your side!

Walk onto your next flight with the necessary information that will help reduce your anxiety. Although it won’t eliminate it, every little bit helps when you want to fall asleep before takeoff and wakeup when you land! Ahh…what a dream that would be!


Use past experiences as a support blanket to those statistics

Assuming your past flight experiences have been, at their worst, decent, take the flights from your past and use them to support the information you will learn.

You lived to see another day! We told you you’d be okay. It’s all about mindset and understanding reality. Anxiety will make our thoughts scatter and make us think irrationally, so it is important to be aware of this and understanding that anxiety has this effect. Preparing for that can make all the difference.


The obvious but effective – distract yourself

Whether it’s with music, a book, watching a show or even fidgeting with your hands and occupying yourself with the get-your-pointer-fingers-as-close-to-each other-as-possible-without-touching game. These may sound silly and generic, but you would be surprised by how distracted you can get from the little things.

Still getting stressed even by trying all of the above? Make the person you’re flying with join you. If you’re flying alone, and the person sitting next to you is up for it, spark a conversation. Maybe you’ll meet a new friend or connection.

People Inside Commercial Air Plane
Sourav Mishra / Pexels

Familiarize yourself with airplane noises

Oh no, the plane made a weird sound. Your anxiety spikes. But wait, it was just the wheels preparing to land.

By identifying your triggers, and let’s say it’s the noises of the plane, it’s critical to understand as much as you can about it. Why not research the noises a plane makes, when and why? It will only help you manage that trigger and in turn, manage your levels of anxiety.


Relaxation remedies

Pick yours: Sleep aids (with the O.K. from your doctor), essential oils, eye mask, something from home you go to for comfort – whatever it may be, have that support system there.


Have a photo of your destination at hand

Use this photo as a reminder of your reward once you step off that plane. You beat your anxiety and are now somewhere wonderful. Soon, that photo you printed from online will be something you can take yourself — because you did it!


Flight anxiety is common, and there are things out there for people to help them manage it. Do your research and see which remedy would be the best for you and the anxiety you face on flights. There’s one for everyone and for all different levels of anxiety!

Boston-based twenty-something who's a self-proclaimed Bloody Mary connoisseur and Billy Joel karaoke aficionado.