How to cope with my fear of flying
When I tell people I have a fear of flying I tend to get funny looks and remarks like “but your always going away”. Yes I am but I have worked hard at overcoming my fear so its not as extreme. Here is more information on How I cope with travelling with anxiety
I am really freaking out about flying economy long haul. I know it’s ridiculous and I am not a diva. For years, I didn’t fly or only went short distances after experiencing panic attacks. One of my coping mechanisms to fly long haul is premium seats. Not only for the extra room and service but for less queuing, less people being crammed in and general piece of mind.
However I love travelling and the purse is getting empty so to fit a few more trips in this year I am doing my first economy flight. I spent days researching the airlines looking at the seating arrangements, reading reviews and decided upon Emirates.
This flight is to Vietnam and it’s got a changeover in Dubai so it’s only 6.5hrs for each section which I’m thinking I can handle (just about). I am not flying solo but with a friend who is very level headed and is going to have to bear with me on this trip, I might just take an anxiety pill to make me sleep.
I read The Savvy Globetrotter’s post on the “Ultimate Guide on how to Survive A Long-Haul Flight“. The first sentence state that she has flown many long-haul flights in economy most them unpleasant and uncomfortable. Already this is making me even more apprehensive but then when I scroll down she’s got some really good tips and to be honest it can’t be that bad otherwise she wouldn’t keep flying economy.
Tip number 1 is “to get a good seat” I can’t decide whether to have a window seat so I can just go to sleep and not have anyone disturb me. I do not want a middle seat with that would just freak me out. Or do I choose the aisle seat so I can get up and move around as and when I need to. But that means the other two people are also then going to be disturbing me to get me up. Or do we go in the middle row which is a row of 4 and I can have one of the end seats on either side. Then I should only be disturbed by one person and that will be my travel companion and I can just tell her she can’t go for a wee.
Even when I have done short haul economy flights I normally pay for the extra leg room seats I just don’t feel as claustrophobic then. I have looked at the seating plan for this flight and they do not have any extra leg room seats available and wanted £20 each to book any other seat which were all the same so I didn’t see the point in paying and have decided to save the money and see where they put me.
Tip 2 prepare your in-flight entertainment
I have checked the inflight guide and there are a few films that I want to watch The Girl on the Train as I listened to the audiobook and loved it although I have heard the films not as good. And I am very excited to announce that I might be starring in one of the films they are showing. A couple of years ago I was a extra in a film that made it to the cinema briefly but I was out of the country so I don’t know if I have been edited out of if in fact I am a movie star so have to watch and see.
I have a few already loaded to my Kindle Fire, some audio books and my Kindle to read. I could do some blogging and get some of my many unfinished articles written. Anyway, I haven’t seen my travel companion for some months so we will be talking all the way and planning what we are going to do on our trip. By the time, I have had something to eat had a gossip watched a film we should be landing in Dubai.
Tip 3 dress comfortably and layers
This is something I always do anyway. I am so much more of a comfort girl than a fashion icon. I will have my leggings on, a nice comfortable top and my hoodie which then doubles up as a pillow. I take my shoes off so my feet can breath. I hope the passengers near me can still breath and I don’t gas them out with stinky feet I will ensure they are clean.
The Globetrotters number one way to survive a long-haul flight is to sleep most of the flight. Our flight is split into two. First, we fly to Dubai and then we have a two hour stop over and then we get back on for another 6-hour flight to Ho Chin Minh. I plan to sleep the second part but the first part I think I will try and stay awake. I have my own noise reducing headphones and I normally listen to an audio book that sends me to sleep or I have some music that I will listen to. I also have my trusty blow up neck travel pillow.
I drink lots of water anyway and tend to avoid alcohol on flights apart from the free glass of champagne I get flying business. However, I might be tempted by the free drinks on Emirates. But then if I do need to have one of my anxiety pills they don’t really mix well with alcohol. Only drawback of drinking lots of water is needing lots of pees.
Tip 6 is to moisturise so it’s not only about keeping your body hydrated but also your skin. I have been aware of this from previous flights and always take a small bottle of moisturiser or lip balm.
Reduce the risk of Deep vein thrombosis. Due to my medical conditions, I am at slightly higher risk so have been advised that I need to wear stockings which I got on prescription. I’ve had my lymph nodes removed in my left arm I must wear an arm sleeve which is to prevent unnecessary build-up of fluid in that area. As well as this, I have been told to an aspirin 4 hours before flight and one just before the flight.
Tip Number 10 is the pack of long-haul flight essentials in your carryon bag the times when I’ve got onto a plane and realised I have left something that really need in my suitcase which is now in the hold. However I am planning to pack light for this flight so don’t want any unnecessary things anyway.
So, I think I have most of this sussed, although I am still anxious and it’s the claustrophobia side of things as I don’t like being enclosed that are worrying me the most and unless we are lucky enough to have a free seat next to us it is something I am just going to have to grin and bear.
Unless I can somehow get an upgrade. Maybe if I smile sweetly, check in might feel sorry for me. Or I could say I’m really, really scared but then they might not let me on the flight. Anyway, I need to overcome this fear because there’s so many other places that I want to go to and the more I can save on flights the more places I can visit. So, check back in a few weeks to see how I got on.
Thank you Savvy Globetrotter I hope your tips help me. If anyone else has any coping tips I would love to hear them please comment below.
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- Originally posted in Feb 2017 and updated in Feb 2019