How To…Beat The Nerves When Flying!

July 11, 2016

How To…Beat The Nerves When Flying!

July 11, 2016

To some, flying is the most exciting thing that leads to an amazing holiday. To others, it is the scariest thing to have to endure. But fear not, there are ways to overcome your fear, or at the very least distract from it.

As technology advances, flying is actually getting easier. I used to worry no end about flying, and actually spent the entire flight from London to Amsterdam in tears after begging my boyfriend not to make me get on it. Over the years, I’ve managed to overcome my fear of flying and recently flew to Norway on my own, something I never thought would be possible.

And so, here are my top ways to beat the nerves when flying:

  1. Activities

This doesn’t just apply to flying for me – any long journey I take will be accompanied by activities. There’s nothing like being bored to make a journey feel longer than it actually is. And while I often spend most of my time staring out of the window daydreaming, I always like to have a choice of activities on hand to keep me entertained just in case. Yep, just like a child. And I’m not just talking about an iPad…I have films, TV shows, puzzle book, reading book and games on my phone. Thanks to the invention of airplane mode, you can now use a wide range of electronic devices on take off and landing – great for a distraction! Just be sure to pick carefully, no one wants to watch Lost as they’re flying…Activities to keep entertained while travelling

2. Snacks and drinks

I never rely on the airline to provide me with drinks and snacks. While this may be trickier for longer flights, I always make sure I have at least one bottle of water with me, usually two if I’m with someone else. I can often get panicky and super thirsty if I know I don’t have something to drink, so I do my best to take away at least one of the worries I have control over.

3. Comfy clothes

I’m not a celeb and there aren’t a bunch of paps waiting to take my photo when I arrive at the airport, so I wear whatever I’m going to be comfortable in for my journey. I don’t want to be uncomfortable, stuck in a plane seat for hours, wearing those trousers that make my bum look good. Nope, I’m all about the slouchy leggings and a big baggy top. I won’t ever win awards for travel style, but at least I’m comfortable and happy.

iPhone 5S in flight safe mode, which now means devices can be left on during take off and landing.
Flight safe mode now means devices can be left on during take off and landing.

4. Make yourself at home

I used to get really bad anxiety and panic attacks about flying. And one of the ways I found helped me to overcome this was to ‘own it’. I’d get on the plane, and I’d make my seat as homely as possible. I’d loosen my shoes, or slip them off if I could. I’d get my drink out and make it easily accessible. I’d pop a magazine in the back of the chair in front, and I would do my best to just…relax. If I had to be on the plane, I might as well make the most of it. I try to see it as ‘enforced relaxation’, which in itself doesn’t sound relaxing, but when you think about how nice it is not to be checking Facebook every 5 minutes, not to be hounded with messages and to just have some me time, it starts to look more attractive.

5. Think of the destination

The idea of flying might be terrifying, but is it worth it to get to where you’re going? Instead of focussing on the couple of hours I have to spend on the flight, I try to think of what I’m going to do once I get to my destination. And then I find that the time I spend on the flight is definitely worth it for the holiday or city break I get to enjoy.

Sunset in Playa de las Americas, Tenerife
This view is definitely worth long flights!

6. Remember that airline staff are also people

This seems like a pretty obvious point, but it was only after speaking to my uncle, who is a seasoned pilot, that I realised it is in their best interest to land safely too. And if the person in control of the plane wants to get home to their families, it sits well with me that they’ll do everything in their power to do that. This may be obvious to most people, but I’d been so caught up with everything that could go wrong, I’d forgotten to think about everything that is actually in place to keep us safe.

7. Take the journey in stages

Instead of being totally overwhelmed by the whole flying experience, tackle it in small chunks. Going to the airport, checking in, going through security, shopping in the departure lounge, boarding the flight, and then just sitting on a plane. On their own, each step isn’t much to overcome and it can be less overwhelming to do each stage on its own.

And there you have it, a few of the ways I cope with flying. There are still moments when I think I just don’t want to get on a plane ever again, but they are just fleeting moments. Plus, it’s kind of difficult to explore new places when you never get on a plane, and my favourite view is above the clouds, which is somewhat challenging to see from the ground…

Do you have any helpful tips to overcome the nerves or fear of flying? I’d love to hear them!


  • Northerner in Norway July 12, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I used to be a real mess when I flew anywhere. I get valium prescribed before I travel but it didn’t help much in the beginning. Moving to Norway meant I had to fly alone and what helped me over the years, was telling the air hostess about my nerves as I boarded. Over the years they’ve all helped to make me feel more at ease, often introducing me to the pilots in the cockpit before take-off to talk to them also. Now, I still take valium, but I’m much calmer and don’t need to tell them about my nerves anymore. Also, I always make sure my Ipod is fully charged before travelling and I always have my earphones on during take-off to block out the noises. 🙂

  • bellamonte July 13, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Becky, I like your advice for flying, thanks for sharing. I used to be the first person you describe, I loved flying, it was the most exciting thing to fly anywhere I could afford. Nowadays, as a mom and as a German living in the US, when flying is kind of necessary to go back home and see family & friends, it’s not that much fun anymore. I even get anxious sometimes about flying and I absolutely hate the landing! I love your advice “Make yourself at home”. I definitely try to do that. I get everything out that might entertain me (phone, kindle, magazine, warm socks, earplugs, headphones and mask) but unfortunately in coach there is only so much space! And I totally agree with the concept of “enforced relaxation”. I cherish the possibility to watch 2 or even more movies in a row with a glass of wine and a pair of noise cancellation headphones on my head! Besides that I keep telling myself before every flight that the car ride to the airport is statistically more dangerous than the flight itself 😉 My policy for the flight attendants is always: If I am nice and say please and thank you, they usually treat you very well, too. I always try to chat a bit with the “neighbors” as well, it’s always interesting to hear why other people travel and who they’re gonna visit. Happy flying!

    • I often find myself with the tray down and stuff piled on it, can’t sacrifice the minimal legroom they give you! It’s nice to hear that other people do the same thing 🙂 and chatting to neighbours is always a lovely distraction!

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