How to Get Over Your Fear of Flying

Having a fear of flying when travelling is your biggest passion is not easy. So, how can you get over your fear of flying? It is said that turbulence will get worse and worse over the next few years due to climate change, so now is the time to learn how to overcome your fear of flying in an airplane.

Panicking at the thought of stepping onto a plane, thinking about dealing with turbulence and not having any control over what happens adds to flying anxiety. 

While the fear of flying may never fully disappear, there is a lot of fear of flying tips that will help make your future travels much more manageable.

How to Get Over Your Fear of Flying - Interior of an airplane filled with people

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Where My Fear of Flying Began

Before I get into the tips to overcome your fear of flying, I want to go over my personal history of flight anxiety. I want to show you that you can conquer your fear of flying from someone who also has a massive fear of flying.

I used to be a different person — I used to love flying! I’d be thrilled when the plane would shake with turbulence — it gave me a jolt of excitement. I never felt like I was in danger, just that I was on a cool ride.

One day, everything changed, and now I wonder:

Who was this person, and where is she now?

I was flying from Edmonton to Vancouver Island. As we flew over the Rocky Mountains, the plane suddenly dropped what felt like several thousand feet due to air pressure changes common over mountain ranges. I’m unsure how far the plane dropped, but it was noticeable.

The cabin fell silent, and everyone was in a state of fear.

I clutched onto the window and the arm of my chair and was frozen, petrified for what seemed like an eternity. I couldn’t move — I was sitting there, my heart beating fast and a cold sweat running down my face.

Ever since that moment, I’ve had a fear of flying.

I’d be panicking months in advance, trying to figure out how to get through my next flight.

I’d search for ways to cope and only find useless facts. Facts like “travelling by car is more dangerous than travelling by plane” or “there are 1,000s of flights every day! How often do you hear about a crash?”

These statements never helped me. My fear was still there and very real.

How I Got Over My Fear of Flying

Over the years, I’ve tried desperately to overcome my fear of flying. I’ve found a few techniques that helped me, and I believe they will help you, too!

One of the reasons I’m less scared to fly is that on one flight, I got really lucky and sat next to an off-duty pilot. I bombarded him with every question I could think of, searching for answers that would help me get over my fear of flying. He was very understanding and answered every question, leaving me feeling relieved and calm.

At the time, what helped me the most was whenever I felt any turbulence, I’d look over at him and see how calm he was. I’d understand the bump was normal, and we were perfectly fine.

But not everybody has the luxury of sitting next to (and harassing!) a pilot. So, for now, please try the following techniques to help you get over your fear of flying.

How to Conquer Your Fear of Flying

Use EarPlanes

If you are like me, you may get disoriented and dizzy during altitude changes. Take-off is the worst for me, and I feel like I am losing control. I get completely disoriented and feel like I am floating. 

It causes me to panic as I try to grab onto something to feel like I am still sitting in my seat on the plane. To combat this, I used ear planes.

EarPlanes are corkscrew-like earplugs that help lower discomfort from altitude changes, prevent your ears from popping, and reduce the harsh noise from the plane.

If you get anxious from feeling like you are losing control while on a plane, try EarPlanes.


It sounds a bit weird, but EFT is the technique of tapping various parts of your face to relieve stress and anxiety. This method is about distraction, but it effectively calms me down. I generally tap the areas below my nose and chin and find that it is enough of a distraction to help me.

Learn the EFT Tapping Points and Tapping Technique

I have an EFT memory that makes me laugh so much! While on a fully booked flight with my best friend, as I was frantically tapping my face, I looked at her and exclaimed: “Look at how calm I am!!!” I must have looked weird to others, but I felt calm then.

Distract Yourself

As well as a fear of flying, I experience vertigo during takeoff and landing. Reading a book helps prevent vertigo because my eyes focus 100% on the words on a page. I still slink down into my seat with my legs planted firmly on the floor in front of me, but it helps.

I recommend reading books you’ve read before and books you loved as a child. Other tops are easy to read, and light-hearted comedy books are the best. The type is usually large, and these books don’t involve much thinking–my favourites are books by Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler or Tina Fey

If you find that reading a book you have to focus on helps you better, then please go with that option. I couldn’t fully immerse myself in the book and read the same sentence repeatedly until we were in the air.

Movies are also a great distraction. The only problem is you can’t watch them during takeoff or landing, so a book works best during these times. However, you can use your phone and tablet, so load them up with your favourite TV shows and movies before travelling.

The cover of the book Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Think About the Jello Theory

The Jello Theory is an analogy where you imagine an airplane flying through the air, and the pressure from the air surrounding the plane acts as though it is suspended in jello.

So, if you make a bowl of jello and place an object inside it – give it quite a shake – the jello shakes as well as the object inside; however, the object is still lodged within the jello.

So, similar to the jello, the air pressure keeps the plane suspended – even though turbulence may seem scary, the plane and you will be safe.

Anna Paul created the Jello Theory. I highly recommend checking her video about it on her TikTok here.

Chat With Your Aisle Mates

This is just another form of distraction, but having a normal conversation with the person you’re sitting next to (especially if they’re strangers) can calm you down. You really have to focus on the conversation to distract your mind from what’s happening around you.

Watch the Flight Attendants

This technique is similar to my experience with the pilot. Whenever you’re having a moment of fear, look at the flight attendants. 

If they’re calm, you can be sure nothing’s wrong. It’s also a good idea to tell the flight attendants you’ve got a fear of flying. 

Ask them to ensure everything’s okay if there’s turbulence or to check on you often. They’re used to people who fear flying, and their reassurance will help calm you down.

Use the 5-second Rule

When you have a sudden rush of fear, count down from 5 to 1, then immediately change your thought process to something more positive. 

Think of arriving safely, having your family or friends pick you up at the airport, all the things you’ll see on your trip, exploring that museum (or, in my case – a really cool cemetery!) you want to go to or relaxing on a beautiful beach. 

Get excited. You’re almost there! This technique will help change your fear into excitement. You’ll still have the same feelings, but after a while, you’ll associate them with excitement rather than fear.

Book Cover for The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Breathe through a Straw

You can try this technique without being too obvious, and it will help you focus your breathing and attention on the straw. Breathing deeply can help calm your body down.

Chew Gum

Chewing gum helps in two ways. It combats the changes in air pressure, which causes your ears to pop and gives the illusion you’re eating. Our bodies associate eating with being in a safe space. So, by chewing gum, you’re telling yourself everything’s fine.

One Final Tip on How to Get Over Your Fear of Flying

This might be another one of those “facts” I mentioned earlier, but it really helps me. 

In addition to the Jello Theory, think of the turbulence you experience in a car as the same as the turbulence you get in an airplane. When you’re in a car, you know the vehicle is fine – it’s just the road that’s a bit bumpy. It’s the same with a plane. The plane itself is fine – it’s just the road is a bit bumpy. Thinking about this helps calm me down.

Your fear of flying may always be there, but these techniques will help you calm down. I’ve experienced a difference and am much less anxious about future flights. I don’t spend months panicking and feeling so overwhelmed anymore. Once again, I love travelling and flying is integral to that.

Please try my suggestions on how to get over your fear of flying and see what works for you. Don’t let your fear hold you back from living your travel dreams!

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