Overcome Your Fear Of Flying

fear of flying

My Friend is really scared of flying. So much so that the entire build up to a holiday is clouded with sleepless nights and worry. He relies on either sleeping pills or vodka to get him through it. And he is not alone – it is really common to fear flying, even by those who fly frequently. But flying is such a large part of the travel experience, and should be a moment to savour before you land in your destination. It is important to learn how to overcome this fear, otherwise you are missing out on such a large part of your trip and causing yourself unnecessary stress.Here are my hints and tips for overcoming the fear of flying.


Before you fly


Think about the fear of flying itself. The fundamental fear is not flying itself, but fear of death. This is just NOT going to happen. Flying is safer than driving! Try and transform your fear of flying into something else. Be Excited for your trip. What you should be focussing on instead of the fear is the journey you are about to embark on, and how grateful you are for it.


By focussing on your fear of flying you are simply speculating, and therefore not being in the present. This means you are missing out on the enjoyment of being excited for your trip. Meditation is a great way to clear the mind and draw your energy to the present. Take a meditation class, or learn how to meditate online, and you can use it whenever you may need it – such as when you are on board.


Plan for the flight by stocking up on things that will distract you from your fear, or ease it. These may include downloading your favourite shows on your tablet or phone, getting stuck into a good book so that you can pick up where you left off onboard, or downloading soothing music to play. Be sure to book your seat in advance, and stock up on supplies such as a sleep mask, ear plugs, and magazines.

fear of flying

At The Airport

Arrive Early

Give yourself more time than usual at the airport. Be extra prepared with your liquids ready in a clear ziplock bag, and have your bag organised. All these things will ensure that you have the most pleasant of experiences at the airport. Plan to do a little shopping, have a drink or a coffee, and enjoy the airport as much as possible. By doing so, you will start to associate flying with a great experience. When I am flying from London’s Heathrow T5 I always make time to shop (it’s great for shopping!) and for a cocktail at Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food. It’s these little things that make flying a great experience!

Treat Yourself

Dress well for a flight – think comfy luxury in a cashmere sweater and stretchy cotton jeans. By looking good you are going to feel good, and this is going to help focus on the present rather than on your fear! I love The White Company‘s comfy lounge wear for flying – head on over to their website now and have a look. Why not splurge on having a glass of champagne at the airport, or plan to do so on-board? Again, like the above, this will automatically make you associate flying with a good experience, and should help you shift your focus in the future, meaning you won’t fear flying but look forward to it.




When you first get on board, get organized. I always take out everything from by bag I will need on board straight away. This way you can relax, and not have to think about anything else once you are in your seat. Try using sound cancelling head phones as soon as you get into your seat to ensure you won’t be spooked by the loud sounds. Try dabbing a little lavender oil on your wrists, and slip some cashmere socks on, and try using an app such as Calm (in flight safe mode!) Anything that helps you unwind!

Be The Calm Voice in Your Head

Sometimes all it takes is a reassuring voice to make up calm down. Practice this by saying calming words to yourself. Try thinking mantras such as “It’s all okay. This is a good experience. I am safe.” Also, meditation, as mentioned above, is something which will help you on board. Close your eyes and allow yourself to return to a state of calm. After all, fear is all in the mind. Your mind cultivated it, therefore your mind can overcome it.

Plan Your Flight

By planning on what you want to do on the flight, you will automatically have something to focus on. If you are flying overnight, you will want to sleep. Plan on taking a sleeping pill which might be a good option if you find it hard to sleep. Otherwise, a glass of wine will relax you. (Do not mix the two!). I always have an idea in mind of how I am going to use the time on board – i.e. plan to watch a movie, then sleep, then another movie. This eliminates time for idle thoughts, and is especially important for those who fear flying.

Speak To The Air Hostesses

Why not have a chat with one of the air hostesses about their schedules.By learning about their job and how many flights they take per week you might find yourself feeling silly about your fear! It will help you visualize how many flights there are per day, and really how there is no need to be scared. They are usually happy to have a chat, especially on a long haul flight, and this can serve as a great distraction.


Still Fear Flying? Long Term Relief

If you find you still fear flying, try reading Michael Salem’s book Brave Flyer: How To End Your Fear Of Flying. This book is currently FREE on Kindle!

Try hypnosis – this is said to be a great way of treating fear.

I hope my tips work for you and make your experience more enjoyable. Remember what a wonderful thing flying is. Without it, the travel we know and love would not be possible! What tips do you have for combating the fear of flying? I’d love to hear them!

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  • Capt Tom Bunn LCSW April 28, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    The book “Brave Flyer” is not free – unless you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. But don’t waste you time. The techniques are outdated and are not effective except for very mild flight phobia. If a person has panic attacks or claustrophobia, the only book that helps is “SOAR: The Breakthrough Treatment for Fear of Flying. Here is a link to sample http://a.co/0n0P5v2

    • luxurybackpack April 29, 2016 at 12:01 am

      Thank you for the info Tom. Great to know 🙂