Flying can seem very scary, despite the fact that we have a 1 in 7 million chance of being killed via commercial plane in the United States. That figure does nothing to combat internalized fears about flying, given that there are plenty of movies and T.V. shows that depict plane crashes, not to mention movies like "Snakes on a Plane" that bring a whole new fear to traveling in the air.
If you have a debilitating fear of planes, I suggest speaking to a therapist or psychologist about how to combat your fears. If you have more mild anxieties about flying, that may include being claustrophobic or being too introverted to be around crowds, then hopefully these tips will help you focus on what you can control about your flight and what can make them enjoyable.
1. Carry a cozy pillow and blanket
You want to be as comfortable as possible, both on the plane and in the waiting areas. And you never know if there's going to be some kind of delay that leaves you waiting in a cold airport for much longer than you prefer. If you're worried about the bulk of these items, you can invest in a neck pillow and grab a sweatshirt that you can always tie around your waist.
2. Bring a charger... and another one... and a charging pack
You never want to be stuck somewhere without the assistance of your phone since we rely on it so much nowadays. Plan to have more than one charger available so you can feel secure in watching your favorite T.V. show or playing a game while aboard with no fear of your phone dying on you. And a charger pack is definitely smart to have in case no outlets are nearby.
3. Don't rely solely on your phone for entertainment
Just because you can use your phone for distracting yourself doesn't mean it's not going to get boring after a while. Try to bring a novel or a puzzle book or even a coloring book in your carry-on so you alternate between digital and hardback forms of entertainment.
4. Sensory deprivation may be the way to go
If you're feeling overwhelmed with everything that comes with flying and can't just relax as you usually would, packing an eye mask and earplugs or noise-canceling headphones could be useful. Pop them on and try to meditate, dismissing external distractors. You could even sleep the flight away.
5. Eat away the stress
This may come as a shock, but TSA allows most non-liquid foods through their checkpoints, and when I've brought on snacks, I've never had an extra screening (although they do have specific rules. Try to pack some comfort snacks, like chocolate or peanut butter or carb-y snack, though I would steer clear of crunchier snacks like chips because you may feel more anxious with the additional sounds in the enclosed plane. Also try not to eat too much sugar because that may raise your energy levels, in turn raising your inclination to become anxious. Don't try to binge-eat, but focus on the delicious tastes that are bringing you joy and ease.
6. Let your travel companion know how you feel
You shouldn't have to bottle up your anxieties and fears if they are trying to overwhelm you. If you are traveling with someone, let them know how you feel so they can periodically check on you. They can offer you someone that will anchor you if during the flight you start feeling overwhelmed.
7. Jam out
Sometimes, the easiest way for me to forget about the world and my problems is to zone out to some music. If you have a strong connection to music, make a playlist of your favorite songs and slip into the therapy of vocalization and instrumentation. If you like music but don't think it will help you, try to find a playlist of soothing tunes that you can find some meditation and peace with.