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Preparing For a Long-Haul Flight as Someone With Extreme Flight Anxiety

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Most of the flights I’ve been on have been about two hours, with the exclusion of a four hour flight to Cancun, which is the longest flight I’ve been on at this point.

Next May, I will be going to Paris which is a seven-and-a-half-hour flight. It’s an understatement to say I’m scared.

Ever since I was little, I have struggled with anxiety, which habitually gets worse when I need to fly. Some of these things may seem a bit ridiculous or irrational to someone without flight anxiety, but that’s what most fears are, irrational.

I didn’t choose to be scared of flying, but I am, and this is how I deal with it.

My boyfriend is from France and most of his family is there, so while I could choose not to face this scary flight and stay home, I don’t have a choice because I’m going home with my boyfriend, which is important for both of us.

This is also the first time I will be flying without my family, which adds to some of my anxiety.

So, instead of being an anxious mess for the next six months leading up to my flight, I’m tackling the issues and getting myself ready to fly ASAP.

The first thing I did when preparing to fly to France was look at flights and figure out what airline I would be on. YouTube has a video for almost every big airplane model, which has been great for me to be able to see the plane I’ll be on.

Being able to watch videos about it will help me be able to start visualizing myself on the plane and I will already know what I’m walking into when I board my flight in May.

I also downloaded a plane-tracking app so I can see how many planes are flying at any given moment. The thought of being trapped in the sky is scary, but knowing that there are millions of people flying at any given time reminds me that I am not alone and flying is a very normal, safe thing that some people do daily.

Another thing I’ve been doing is making an Amazon list of things I want to bring in my carry-on to have with me. Most importantly, I’ll have a blanket and a neck pillow with me.

Those are both great things to have on a plane even if you aren’t anxious because if you’ve ever flown, you know it can be cold and uncomfortable.

Another purchase I will be making, albeit unnecessary, is a foot hammock. I saw a TikTok about it and knew it would be a game changer for me. It’ll just give me a little bit of freedom and movement to be able to put my feet up during the flight.

For a snack, I will be bringing sour candy. I read that when you have anxiety, eating sour candy will divert your brain from thinking about your fear or anxiety to thinking about the flavor and feeling in your mouth.

While I don’t know if this works since I haven’t tried it before, I’m going to bring some just in case because it never hurts to try.

With some of these tips, I’m hoping my long flight will be more bearable.

Just know, if you are anxious about flying, you are not alone. There are so many great tips out there to help you.

Caroline is a third-year student at Penn State studying digital and print journalism with a minor in digital media trends and analytics. When she is not doing school work or writing for HER Campus @ PSU, she is at the gym, watching YouTube, cooking/ baking, or hanging out with friends.