How can I overcome my fear of flying?
From mild to crippling cases, fear of flying affects many people. Research shows that 2.5% to 6.5% of the U.S. population suffers from aviophobia, the fear of flying. Before you book your next flight, here are five steps you can take to help you fly with confidence.
1. Understand turbulence
Though the shaking sensation can feel frightening, turbulence is a normal part of flying.
Like waves on the ocean, turbulence is the result of changing temperatures and crisscrossing winds. If things get a little rocky while in the air, remember that planes are durable machines designed to withstand tremendous amounts of turbulence.
2. Memorize the facts
Fears often stem from our minds at play rather than realistic facts. Instead of letting your imagination get the best of you, memorize some facts on flying. Remind yourself:
- Air travel is safer than most other forms of mass transportation.
- The odds of dying in a car crash are 1 in 112. The odds of death from a plane crash are 1 in 96,566.
- The International Air Transport Association (IATA) claims one airplane crashes every 8.7 million flights, which is very few.
- You’re more likely to get struck by lightning or eaten by a shark than die in a plane crash.
3. Experience a flying simulation
Who needs to book a flight to face your fear of flying? Why not give it a try in augmented reality? That’s right. With today’s technology, you can download a flight simulation experience to your smartphone. Just snap the device in a set of smart goggles, and you can face your fear of flying from the comfort of your living room.
Skeptical? Check out Luke Johnson’s experience battling his fear of flying through virtual reality.
4. Review safety procedures
You can review and memorize the in-flight safety tips. This way you will feel prepared when boarding your next plane and have a clearer understanding of the emergency procedures if something were to go wrong–which is still unlikely.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also provides a fact sheet on general aviation safety. This includes how the FAA is actively reducing risk in the industry through increased training, enhanced aircraft designs, and the like. Reading and understanding these precautions can also boost your confidence in flying safely.
5. Meet the pilots
Once you make it on your next flight, see if you can meet the pilots. Pilots often greet the passengers during boarding. Step aside, if time and space allow, and briefly introduce yourself. Meeting the pilots establishes trust and builds confidence because you can put a face to the one controlling the aircraft.