I’m a nervous, fearful flyer, who’s also an avid fan of traveling. And my favorite destination, New York City, is 12 just hours away from my home in Cairo (no biggie, right?). *internally panics
How do I deal with this paradox? Mhm, I’m still figuring that out! Whenever I watch, read, or listen to how flying works and how to get over this fear, everyone refers to it as “irrational.” Honestly, I don’t think it’s very irrational. Like c’mon, how is feeling uncomfortable “irrational” when you’re in a huge metal box that keeps shaking at 10,000 meters in the air? That’s the question of the decade.
Mind you, I’m writing this article while being 10,000 meters in said metal box, on said 12-hour flight, so I’m going to try to be as honest as possible. Phew.
If you don’t have a fear of flying, you may think that some of these tips are a bit ridiculous, but I'm serious - anything helps. Here's how I do it:
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If you like watching Youtube or videos, download some on your phone. Your mind will wander away from the action of flying once you put on your favorite episode of The Office. UK or US version? I’ll let you all debate that.
If your issue with flying stems from feeling weird and unnatural in the air, I’ve got a recommendation. Stay with me for a sec. If you watch videos about your favorite Youtube stars in planes, you’ll feel like you have someone to sympathize with. Like, think about it – when you’re home, you might throw on your favorite DamonAndJo video about how Damon lost his passport in an airport or a video about their flight to Brazil. In the comfort of your home, you laugh and relate. Well, while you’re on the plane, you’ll laugh and LITERALLY relate. Sometimes this trick helps me to brush off the extra edge of flying.
Download the SOAR app.
-It measures the turbulence on your flight and assures you that you’re okay. BAM!
-It gives you calming exercises to do for anticipatory anxiety and in-flight anxiety. YUP!
-And it’s free, so it’s for me, and it’s for you too! AMAZING!
They also have long-term intense programs to completely cure your fear (these aren’t free though… womp womp womp). I’ve even read personal accounts of it completely curing people’s fears. I’ve considered trying it myself, but this program is way too much $$$. I’ll just stick to the free app instead!
For long trips, plan out what you’re going to do each hour.
A 12-hour flight screams boredom, and boredom leads to overthinking, and overthinking leads to anxiety. Yep – it’s a vicious cycle.
Don’t get bored.
Plan when you’re going to get into comfortable PJs, when you’re going to put your clothes back on, ask about meal times, and plan to watch a movie or read a book. Or if you’re a weirdo like me, write this article during the last two hours of your flight. What? I’m being honest!
Sleep. Any way you can.
I’m terrible at sleeping on planes. I try to sleep but what ends up happening is I get into this weird state of sleep or dreaming and it’s not comfortable. I take Melatonin to help with that, so you can do whatever you can to kickstart your sleep. Also, use a darn neck pillow – they help so much! A cramped neck ain’t cute!
Go to the bathroom frequently, even if you don’t need to.
The walk to and from the bathroom gives you a change of scenery and allows you to just breathe. From personal experience, being strapped down makes me feel like I’m in jail. Also, once I gain the confidence to get up and roam during a flight, I always know that I’m chipping away at that fear. Also, wash yo’ face – flights are gross… stay cleansed. It’ll give you something to do and make the time go by quicker.
Do whatever relaxes you.
Pray, meditate, listen to music, whatever it is for you. It’s an obvious tip, but I used to be so stressed out that I would just sit in my seat and do nothing. Try to do routine things you already do at home. So, if you drink a cup of tea every afternoon, ask the flight attendant for a cup. If you like to kick your shoes off, do it, boo! You paid money for this experience, so do what you’ve got to do to get comfortable (but nothing weird though – keep it classy).
Alright. That’s all I have for you. If none of this works, remember where you’re going, that’s what makes it all worth it. But actually, look at photos of the New York Highline and daydream baby, daydream!
If you’ve read through all of this and still think I’m crazy, well I don’t know what to tell you, but you’ve probably never been on a non-wifi plane for 12-hours straight (I’m cringing right now because that’s exactly what I’m experiencing).
Enjoy the rest of your day. I still have 3 hours left on this flight, so I’ll probably take 6 bathroom trips (2 every hour) and write 3 more articles… ‘cuz why the heck not?