Getting on a plane can make anyone uneasy, including frequent flyers. As much as travel bloggers love to see new places and learn about new cultures, it does not mean that we are entirely happy with the process of getting to those new places. Putting your life into the hands of complete strangers and trusting a machine you have no control of at 35,0000 feet in the air is a huge ask. However, fear is all in the mind. So keeping your mind occupied and distracted from thinking about the possibilities is of paramount importance whilst in-flight.
The below tips have helped to put my mind at ease during times of disquietude on some of my previous flights. I rely on some of these practices all the time and others occasionally.
1. Saying a prayer
Before takeoff and after landing say a prayer. I start and end each journey with a prayer. If you feel like it, pray continuously throughout the flight, especially during turbulent moments. You do not need to pray out loud for anyone to hear. You can simply pray under your breath or in your mind. Whilst believing in God does not mean that bad things will not happen, it will give you a sense of comfort to put your fears before God as you make your petition for journeying mercies.
Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you, that is, if that person is willing to engage in a chat. Otherwise, find something to read. Go prepared with a book or the latest copy of your favourite magazine. I find that recently most of my leisurely reading is done whilst en route to my destination. I cannot seem to otherwise spare the time to read, so I get it in when I can, especially if I’m flying with a low budget carrier that has no in-flight entertainment.
Do not ignore the airlines’ in-flight magazines. Nowadays airlines are producing top notch content and it’s one of the best ways to learn about the various destinations they travel to.
I’ve been known to take a copy of in-flight magazines that inspire me, whether it’s to plan a trip to a destination featured in the magazine or to read up on a product advertised in it.
For example, following the not so nice review I got from someone who had previously visited Manila, Philippines, I had written-off the idea of taking a trip to the capital. Instead, I planned to visit two of the Philippines’ popular tourist destinations, Cebu and Boracay. After opening a copy of Aspire, which is produced by Hong Kong Airlines, and reading about Manila, I became open again to the idea of visiting that city.
3. Watching a TV show or a movie
Many airlines, especially for long haul flights, offer in-flight entertainment at no extra cost. You will typically find some of the latest blockbuster hits as well as classics. These are updated periodically with new movies and TV shows.
Alternatively, download a movie or your favourite TV series from Netflix or Amazon Prime to your mobile device and binge watch it in-flight. This is also good to do if you are flying on a budget airline or if you traveled so frequently in a short span of time that you have already watched every movie on the in-flight entertainment that is of interest you. I could almost kick myself for having to sit through the buzzing sound of the plane during a three hour flight from Hong Kong to Malaysia. I must have read every page of Air Asia’s in-flight magazine twice.
4. Listening to music
Ahead of your flight load your mobile device with the latest tunes and have your own private jam session in-flight. The music will also help to drown out the sound of the plane’s engine. Better yet, invest in noise cancelling headphones so that you can listen to your music in peace. Having your favourite tunes on heavy rotation is soothing and will help to keep your mind from wondering about the possibilities. Most in-flight entertainment systems also offer music so you might still be able to listen to music if you forgot to update your playlist on your mobile device.
5. Playing games
While you are thinking about your next strategy in the monopoly game you and your travel partner have engaged in you will have no time to worry about something you have no control over. In fact, last year I purchased miniatures of the chess and monopoly games in Malaysia and have whipped them out mid-flight for some friendly competition with my other half. Alternatively, you could play games on your phone or other mobile device or on the airline’s in-flight system (if there is one).
If all else fails, pop your headphones into your ears and go to sleep. The economy seats on most planes do not offer the most comfortable slumber, so if you know that sleeping is the best way for you to get through your flight fearlessly then why not spend the extra bucks to upgrade your seat? I flew “premium economy” once on Cathay Pacific and it was worth every dime! After my long flight I felt rested upon arrival at my destination. If your preference is to sleep through the entire flight but you have trouble doing so on a plane then consider consulting with your doctor before travelling to find out if sleeping pills are suitable for you.
I hope that these tips will help you during your next flight. Let me know if they do.
Do you have a fear of flying? What do you do in-flight to keep your mind at ease?