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Maybe you’ve heard too many news stories about malfunctioning aircrafts, airplane crashes, or hijackings. Maybe it's your first time on a plane and everything just seems so new and alien to you. Or maybe you’ve just never really gotten the hand of flying. Whatever the reason, flying can be a totally nerve-wracking experience for many people, and you’re not alone. Studies indicate that at least one out of six people are nervous flyers.
Statistics show that riding on an airplane is much safer than riding a bike or driving a car, but this happy little detail won't mean much to people who are afraid of flying. Once inside an airplane, you will tend to notice every little detail throughout the trip, every air pocket you hit, the way the carry-on compartments jiggle, and you might even overanalyze everything the pilot says when you hit some turbulence.
So what can you do to alleviate your fear of flying? Luckily, it's not hopeless and there are plenty of options for you.
Before you fly
Believe it or not, there are some organizations dedicated to helping people get over their fear of flying. They offer not just reading material for you to study, but workshops and courses as well to help you cope with air travel. Virgin Atlantic has a program called Flying Without Fear (http://www.flyingwithoutfear.info) that can help you learn more about handling stress during flights and help you understand more about the workings of an airplane.
It might also help you to speak with seasoned travelers and listen to their stories about their trips. Plus, the fact that they’ve flown many times already with nothing untoward happening to them should help ease your fears.
Make sure you pack some things in your carry-on luggage that will distract you during your trip. Being able to do something with your hands or reading something will keep your mind off your nervousness. During check-in, you can also request a seat closer to the front of the plane. This spot tends to be less bumpy than the seats located in the rear, plus it also has the added bonus of being quieter, since you won't hear the roar of the plane's engine that much.
During the flight
Upon boarding the plane, you can approach a flight attendant to discuss some of your concerns with him or her. They'll usually be willing to answer your questions and make sure you’re comfortable during the whole trip.
Remember to stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic drinks as these can only make you more nervous and jittery. Ginger ale is said to be quite effective in settling your stomach and keeping you calm. If you really need something stronger, some people recommend taking some tranquilizer or, if you get motion sickness, some medicine like Dramamine to help you get some sleep.
You should also make use of the in-flight games and movies or do crossword puzzles to keep your mind elsewhere. Read some books and magazines, or better yet, make some exciting plans for when you reach your destination. That would definitely distract you and keep you in a lighter mood all throughout your flight.