Overcoming My Fear of Air Travel

I hated “liff up” when I was younger. It made me light-headed and dizzy. I would close my eyes until my feet touched the ground. The same thing applied when driving up steep hills. No surprise then, that for a long time, the thought of air travel made me feel sick. Seeking adventure though, I was determined to overcome this fear. After all, according to statistics, air travel is the safest mode of transportation.

Research showed me that the occurrence of plane crashes is lower than that of cars. With the reckless rate of driving on our roads, it would suffice to say that one is more likely to die driving to the airport than flying to another country.

Family vacations had been cancelled twice because of my fears. So, in 2014, I put my anxieties aside and booked my first plane ticket.

Checking in was fun, although the flight was delayed for over an hour. Extra time to perhaps change my mind. I won’t lie, trepidation was killing me. I calmed my fears by busying myself with the endless chatter of my kids and feeding off of their excitement. Eventually, the flight was announced and we boarded. I refused the window seat when we booked because I was uncertain I would be able to handle it. I strapped myself in on the aisle seat.

The dreaded take-off time came and I closed my eyes, waiting for (not even sure what it was), something, to happen. The plane turned and made its way to the runway. The speed seemed so instant! I thought about all the decisions that led me to this situation.

“It’s worth it, it’s worth it,” I chanted in my mind. The wheels lifted off the ground and my stomach dropped to my toes.

We were in the air. What on earth?! Air, wind, sea, earth…what was happening?

I turned and looked at my husband with a questioning look and his reassuring smile began to sooth my nerves. I know it’s strange, but it’s true. Soon, we were sailing in the sky. Clouds were drifting by and everything was fine.

I felt so terrible; we could have done this a long time ago. The feeling of being up in the air was so beautiful I had to change seats with my husband so I could see outside. It was an amazing sight to behold.

There were some discomforts, but I overcame them. Let’s look at some and how you can survive your next trip.

Ear Pain

As the aircraft ascends or descends the air pressure inside the cabin will gradually change, either increasing or decreasing. A problem only occurs when the change in altitude is so rapid, that the pressure inside the inner ear and the air pressure outside doesn’t have time to equalise. This can cause much uneasiness but can be overcome by either swallowing your saliva, which releases the pressure, using earplugs provided by the airline, or by chewing gum.

Stomach distress

I would seriously advise you to be careful what you eat before travelling. Avoid foods and drinks that can cause a build-up of gas in your intestines, it causes bloating which leads to stomach pains. If you also are not familiar with the meals served on board the airplane, kindly decline and see if you can get an alternative. Otherwise, stick to bread or water

Swollen feet

This occurs when you sit down for a long duration and can be avoided by wiggling your feet around the ankles once in a while and also moving around. You can take a minute walk in the cabin to calm your feet nerves.

I experienced all these the first time travelling, but I learned how to deal with it thereafter. Now, I am a better air traveller and I plan vacations with enthusiasm and zeal! I hope you have been armed with enough information if you are considering your first air travel. Travel is always worth it.

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