If you have a fear of flying, people are probably trying to comfort you with the age old “You’re more likely to be in a car accident than in a plane crash”. Has this statement ever cured fear of flying? Doubtful. You just keep answering “Perhaps, but my odds for surviving are better in a car crash than in a plane crash”. I’m honestly sick and tired of hearing the car vs plane statement. Wow, thanks for being the millionth person to tell me this BS, but can you not…
I used to love flying – that was when I was too young to comprehend the risks that come with flying. Then one winter, the runway was icy and the plane rocked from side to side like an Ariana Grande song. I realized something could actually go wrong and I’ve been a hesitant flyer ever since. My fear of flying doesn’t stop me from traveling, but it gives me great anxiety before a flight and sometimes leads to drama during (just ask hubby).
6 WAYS I DEAL WITH FEAR OF FLYING
During the 15+ years I’ve had this fear, I’ve developed some tricks that help me manage my fear of flying. This article deals with hypothetical accidents. If this makes you uncomfortable in any way, please continue to read a different article.
1. An aisle seat near an emergency exit
The first thing I do after I book my flight is to reserve my seat. I always opt for an aisle seat near an emergency exit. This is my way to gain a little control over a situation that’s otherwise 99,9% out of my hands (the 0,1% being the “save yourself if you survived the touch down” part). My aisle seat close to the emergency exit can give me a head start during “the unlikely event of an emergency”. I won’t be slowed down by confused people who didn’t pay attention to the cabin crew’s security demonstration.
Some might think this is being overly cautions and that’s their prerogative. But I rather hope for the best and prepare for the worst. While others struggle with their life jackets (which you should absolutely not inflate inside the cabin), I’m already on the emergency slide.
2. Observing the cabin crew
A classic fear of flying hack. As long as the cabin crew go on with their day as usual, so can you. I’m a frequent flier and I’ve never seen flight attendants panic, nor have I been in a dangerous situation. My conclusion is that the cabin crew’s reactions can be trusted.
3. Knowing what to do in case of an emergency
I’ve flown over 500 hours and I read the safety instruction card and pay attention to the safety demonstrations every time. Every. Single. Time. I’ve heard that people who read the safety instructions have a better chance to survive an accident. I have no idea if this is scientifically proven but common sense tells me that if you know what to do in case of an emergency, you’re more likely to act fast and correct – hence you should have a better chance to survive. And, I have nowhere else to be and nothing else to do anyway. I might just read the safety card and observe the cabin crew.
4. Research seats with best survival rate
Every accident is different and there’s no guarantee that you’ll benefit from sitting in a certain part of the aircraft. However, a middle seat at the back of the plane is your safest bet according to Time. But who are we kidding, even I would accept a few percents less survival rate as long as I don’t have to deal with a middle seat.
5. Watching the show Mayday (DO NOT do this before an upcoming flight)
Mayday is a documentary series about plane crashes, the moments leading up to the accidents, the following investigations and the aftermath regarding improvements in the industry. The show has given me some “aha”-moments and taught me about flight safety. It also made me realize that every accident contributes to improvements and safer flying.
6. Keeping up with crash news
Yeah this one is a bit morbid and not for everyone. When I read about accidents I want to find out what went wrong and which part of the airplane the survivors (if any) were in. I always thought sitting close to the wings was safe. I imagined the plane being most sturdy there. But in the Southwest Airlines crash recently, the only person who didn’t survive the accident was the person sitting in a seat close to the wing. I realized the rows next to the wings are potential danger zones in case of engine failure. Now I need to find a new “safe spot”…
+ Fun Fact: The Dutch football (soccer) player Dennis Bergkamp is so afraid of flying he would miss away games during his career. He retired from the Dutch national team in 2000 – prior to the World Cup in South Korea.
Now that you know how to calm your fear of flying, you’re ready to fly over the Pacific Ocean. Check out 8 epic stops on road trip in Oahu.
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