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Air Travel Tips

psychmommapsychmomma Registered User Posts: 2,791 Senior Member
To keep this separate from the other packing and sightseeing threads, I'd love to hear your best tips on air travel.

We haven't flown in over 25 years. My personal problem is being scared to death due to fear of heights and hating not being in control. My H's issue is some combination of motion sickness and altitude sickness.

Back when we did fly, he would board the plane, put on his seatbelt, and immediately say he felt sick and would close his eyes and try to sleep the entire flight.

I would sit with fists clenched, barely breathing, scared of every little noise, scared the engine would fall off, turbulence would strike, the plane would nosedive, and have a zillion other high anxiety thoughts.

I've seen recommendations for meds, but also seen suggestions that they won't help my phobia. H has found a few meds that might help his altitude sickness.

What makes air travel comfortable for you? A neck pillow? Gum? blanket? Compression socks? What is your typical routine after boarding a plane that makes the trip tolerable for you? What should I bring to help alleviate and prevent as many issues as possible?



Replies to: Air Travel Tips

  • greenwitchgreenwitch Registered User Posts: 8,417 Senior Member
    Bring a little power pack for your phone, in case you don't have a place to charge it at your seat. Put on your headphones and play something soothing to you - whether it's music, soothing nature sounds, a podcast, something you've downloaded to help specifically with your flying fears, etc.

    I have a little neck pillow that inflates in 2 or 3 breaths. When you deflate it, it's flat and foldable so I like it better than the poufy pillows. But you might prefer a poufy pillow, or one filled with buckwheat hulls. I like to always have some water with me too.

    Good luck! I don't have any real flying fears and I actually like a bit of turbulence so I don't have any good tips to deal with that.

  • momo2x2018momo2x2018 Registered User Posts: 439 Member
    Noise Canceling Headphones & eye shakes
    Ear Plugs
    Cozy travel socks and a favorite travel blanket / wrap
    Download movies you'll enjoy to your phone / ipad / kindle
    Sit on the aisle or the middle of the middle row, that way, you cannot see out the window
    Meditation on your phone (listen through your noise cancelling headphones!)
    A modified version of chair yoga for the plane! https://www.verywellfit.com/airplane-yoga-3566842
    Failing the above, Valium!
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,139 Senior Member
    I’ve heard that desensitization therapy can be super helpful for fear of flying.

    I don’t have any flying issues but usually bring headphones so I can listen to music, word puzzles, and a good book. I can’t sleep on the plane to save my life so I will watch movies too.
  • VeryHappyVeryHappy Registered User Posts: 18,256 Senior Member
    edited February 9
    I"m not a fan of flying -- it's so damn uncomfortable! -- but I don't have fears or phobias about it. For comfort, I bring water; find some real junk mystery to read so I'm totally distracted; and, if I'm not distracted, I just close my eyes and doze. IME, I just want it to be over with as quickly as possible.

    ETA: @psychmomma: Do you have a trip already planned, or are you just trying to think about how to get back in the saddle?
  • EmbracethemessEmbracethemess Registered User Posts: 287 Junior Member
    On a recent trip to London the audio connection to my seat's movie screen was malfunctioning, so I couldn't watch any of the movies or shows offered by the airline, which I was counting on to help pass the time. Therefore I recommend downloading some content to your personal device if you want to watch a movie to keep you distracted.
  • deb922deb922 Registered User Posts: 5,436 Senior Member
    edited February 9
    I would go to my doctor and ask if they have any medication for you. It’s situational and anti anxiety would probably do wonders.

    My aunt was really afraid to fly but her kids moved far away. She found that medication helped so much and flying became much much easier.

    Short term therapy sounds great also.

    Also I heard this on a podcast so no personal experience. But he says that he calls the airline and they have people who help those who are afraid of flying. It might be worth a call. He boards early and asks to meet the pilot. Says that meeting the pilot calms him.

    Good luck.

    I see that you are afraid that medication won’t help the phobia. I’d still talk to my doctor.

    Headspace is a good meditation app
  • HouseChatteHouseChatte Registered User Posts: 303 Member
    I am utterly terrified of flying and will only get on a plane for one of my kids. Turbulence and control are huge issues for me. The following helped me handle flying, if not make my peace with it:

    - I was on an antidepressant/anti-anxiety prescription for other reasons and unexpectedly felt less stressed about both my own flights and those of my family.

    - Music, as others have said. Smooth jazz is my weapon of choice.

    - Learn what's normal. My husband has a private pilot's license and just geeks on flying in general, so I'd pick his brain a lot. It sometimes got combative, as in "you call that LIGHT turbulence???" But being exposed to the definitions helped me a lot.

    - My husband's Jeep Wrangler. One of his favorite things is finding a dirt road and seeing what it can do. Oddly, the lurching and sliding around served to normalize turbulence for me. My body got used to the motions, and Reptile Brain no longer thought we were falling out of the sky. I get less muddy when I fly, too. :)

    Good luck!
  • rosered55rosered55 Registered User Posts: 4,213 Senior Member
    I'm also somewhat afraid of flying. When I do ride on a plane, the following things help (YMMV): sitting near the front of the plane (on Southwest, with no first class); listening to music on my iPod Shuffle; bringing along engrossing reading material; doing something else engrossing (I taught myself how to use text messaging on my cellphone on one flight; obviously, I couldn't send the messages while I was in the air but that wasn't the point); and not having a gigantic carry-on bag.
  • alhalh Registered User Posts: 8,423 Senior Member
    edited February 9
    I'm a very nervous flyer but can't avoid it. I drink, unless I have to drive when I land. On overseas flights I take a benadryl with a glass of wine. If not asleep, I have to focus on a book or movie. My sister needs an anti-anxiety med to fly. It changed her life.

    (edited to be more positive for another fearful flyer)

    Good luck. Get the best seats you can afford.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,616 Senior Member
    To ease your fear of flying, remember that the most dangerous part of a scheduled commercial airline flight in the US or many other countries is typically the driving or riding in a motor vehicle on the way to or from the airport.

    Regarding turbulence, just keep the seat belt on whenever you are seated.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 7,404 Senior Member
    edited February 9
    Noise cancelling earphones. Not regular ones. Make sure they are noise cancelling.
    World of difference. Get on the plane and plug in.
    You can plug them into the plane movies/media if available.
    But download podcasts, music, or movies on your phone or other device to tide you over.
    You can take some of your own snacks--fruit, cookies, nuts etc if it helps. Get a drink to bring aboard if it makes you happier.
    Wear or bring a wrap (or soft jacket/sweater) that you can use as a pillow or to keep warm.

    My biggest problem these days is lack of leg room. It's hard to even reach in a bag to get anything!
    So--make sure your tote contents are VERY easy to access-- side pockets, top zipper. Anything you want on top. If you have a good "travel" jacket, you can put things in the pockets--phone, ear phones, etc. and never need your bag at all.
  • dragonmomdragonmom Registered User Posts: 5,929 Senior Member
    edited February 9
    There’s an app called Calm that a lot of my friends use in their elementary classrooms. It has short relaxation and mindfulness exercises. The app also has Sleep Stories, where folks with very calming voices read stories designed to lull you to sleep. ( my friends do not use these in the classroom!).
    Maybe some of these could help you before and during the flight.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 7,404 Senior Member
    edited February 9
    @dragonmom --Am I reading this wrong or is Calm 70 bucks a year?

    (Might be cheap for the classroom but not for me)
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