So My Aviophobia Is Back (And What I Did To Get Through It)

It seems strange, right? A seasoned world traveler being afraid of flying?

I wrote about this a couple years ago – my fear and how I was able to get over it using a few NLP videos on YouTube.

Well, I’m not sure if it just wore off or what, but on a flight from DC to Tampa my anxiety was through the roof. It might have been the captain’s announcement that there were maintenance problems with the first plane. Or the article I read about someone else’s fear of flying and how they freak when the engine starts making weird noises. Or the turbulence during the whole flight.

Either way, it was very rough. So rough that I considered canceling the flight I had arranged from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale the next morning.

my sister and I on the plane

My sister and I on the first flight

But that’s ridiculous. It would be extremely time consuming and costly for me to live a life sans plane. I can’t bus or boat from Colombia to Florida every time I want to visit my family.

During my last flight, I was determined to make myself as comfortable as possible. I think I came up with the perfect formula.

Tips for Getting Through a Flight

Step 1: Download a bunch of funny movies or TV shows on your laptop/tablet. There is nothing better than a little distraction to keep your mind off your anxiety.

Step 2: Get noise-canceling headphones. The last thing I want to hear is the engines whirring. They make all kinds of crazy noises that I can’t interpret. Crank the volume up as loud as you can stand it, sit back, and enjoy.

Step 3: Marley’s Mellow Mood. While filling up our rental car with gas, I popped inside to get some Dream Water. The station didn’t have any, but the attendant recommended Marley’s Mellow Mood and said that it really works. It didn’t take much convincing for me because I’m a big fan of Bob Marley and I’ll pretty much buy anything with his face on it. Sure enough, as soon as I had chugged the sparkling citrus drink, I was feeling very chill.

Step 4: Dream Water. Now before you go mixing these two, be warned I’m not a doctor and I don’t know if it’s a good idea to load up on both Marley’s Mellow Mood and Dream Water. But I did it. I bought a little bottle at the airport and downed it about 30 minutes before we boarded.

On the flight, I faded in and out of dreamland and the movie Identity Thief. I was just waking up from a nap when we were landing (my favorite time of the flight).

Do you get anxious during flights? What do you do to get through it?

  • CaptTomBunn

    As an airline captain and licensed therapist, I’ve specialized in the
    treatment of flight anxiety for over thirty years. These are good tips
    for a person whose flight difficulties are mild. Another good thing to
    do is to get the free app at http://www.fearofflying.com/app as it has
    lots a information and a g-force meter that measures turbulence, and
    will prove to you that the plane is doing fine in spite of the bumps.

    If
    more help is needed, what I’ve learned working with anxious fliers is
    now in book form, SOAR, The Breakthrough Treatment for Fear of Flying.
    Search it on Amazon and read the reviews (including one by the former
    Surgeon General of The U.S. Navy).

  • Andrew Scott

    Hello Jasmine. You should be grateful that you fell in love with Colombia and not Honduras. No amount of Dream Water or Bob Marley mixture could soothe or mellow your mood for the landing at Tegucigalpa. I have no fear of flying but the combination of the steep descent, turbulent crosswinds, short runway and hysterical, erratic, chanting, praying, screaming passengers did make me a little anxious. Best wishes.

  • R l

    Hi Jasmine, I am preparing for a move soon to Mexico, the first domino in a nomad lifestyle, and was feeling a bit anxious. Stumbled upon your blog when I googled for some info about my destination city. The blog is wonderful, and it seems like you are soon exactly what you should be :)

    Regarding plane anxiety, I think we are very affected by the everything around us, so the anxiety may not even be yours but something you picked up from an anxious neighbor sitting behind you. I mean the plane is crammed, imagine all that concentration of energy from maybe even multiple anxious riders. So not to worry! Next time it happens just be grateful that the feeling allows you to connect a bit with others and sharing a bit of what they are feeling.

  • http://dev.jasminewanders.com Jasmine Stephenson

    Tegucigalpa is a scary place in and of itself, so I’m glad I didn’t fall in love with it their either :)

  • http://dev.jasminewanders.com Jasmine Stephenson

    Hi RI,

    Thanks for visiting! I wish I was just picking up on other flyers’ anxiety, but mine starts several hours before so that’s just not the case. I will continue downing Mellow Mood until I get over it :)

  • http://accommodationbrisbanecbd.net.au/ John Gorge

    Tips for having a wonderful flight is useful. Thanks for these I can have a wonderful flight as I travel

  • http://www.247Cityairporttransfer.co.uk/ Julie Danes

    I remember my first flight. I was so nervous I forgot my MP4 home, so I had to listen to the engines noise for almost 6 hours. Not to mentioned two nearby little kids who considered the floors more comfortable than their chairs. :) But all ended well. Looking forward to your next post.