Tips, deals, and advice on traveling the continent on a budget.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fear of Flying Questions

By Paul Tizzard

Anyone with a fear of flying will dread going to airports. There are some practical things that you can do to help prepare yourself for this.

These are just a few tips to get you going. At the end of the article are some other ideas to help your fear of flying.

1. Get everything ready well before hand. Do not leave anything to the last minute. Check passport dates are in date. Let your airline Special Assistance department know that you are a nervous passenger so they can tell the crew onboard.

2. Get to the airport really really early as Security is so much tougher now. I would even suggest staying at a hotel the day before so you are nearby and don't have to rush to the airport. When you get to the airport, you can choose whether to join the shouting, rushing frustrated family who don't know where they are going or take your time.

By the way, someone once told me that worked for the British Airport Authorities that all their research into passenger behaviour proved that people don't or can't read airport signs. Passengers become sensory overloaded with all the neon suspended signs everywhere so they blank them out. In a state of panic, this becomes even worse. Like I say, you can join the mad masses or get their early, learn the layout, get a coffee and relax into the environment.

3. Wear comfortable clothes. Airports and aircraft are multi temperature zones. Where what can easily be added to or removed. Isn't a shame that shell suits went out of fashion? Sorry UK joke.

4. Drink water and lots of it. Air conditioned environments drain you of moisture. When you are in the air, this increases the effects of alcohol by two or three times. The crew are told to drink two litres of water on a flight to counter this.

5. When onboard, move your legs around. Get up and walk around during the flight. When you are not moving around, fasten your seat belt. In Turbulence the aircraft is not bothered by it and you will be safe if you are strapped in.

6. Look out of the window so that you can keep your sense of perspective. Closing your eyes and clenching strips you of some of your primary human senses that help with balance.

Hope that helps you?

Other things that people we have helped with their fear of flying or claustrophobia is to work on the mental side too. For instance, there are many approaches out there that can help you.

For example, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy really helps with the thinking side of fear. A lot of people with fear of flying or other phobias often have unhelpful thinking patterns. Cogntive approaches give you some help and things to think about whilst you are queuing.

Other approaches that work for nervous passengers are Relaxation techniques so that you can practice visualising good things happening instead of disaster!!! We use this on our courses plus another technique which I am about to mention which is NLP - Neuro Linguistic Programming.

This is a technique to help people to deal with the unhelpful thought patterns they are using.

Another technique I have come across which people have found very useful is TFT - Thought Field Therapy.

Good luck!

Paul Tizzard is Co-Director of Virgin's Fear Of Flying Programme. This has been running with a success rate of 98% since November 1997. For the top ten questions our nervous flyers ask, go to


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3:13 PM


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