Doing anything for the first time is quite daunting, but for first time flyers, it’s an extra mix of anxiety, uncertainty and fear. A fear of flying or aviophobia is real and affects many, but there are several ways to cope with aviophobia, whether it’s turbulence or the initial take-off that causes it.
Whether you’re flying first-class to your dream holiday in the Maldives or flying to college to visit your children, here are seven tips to ease your anxiety and help you relax at 20,000-feet in no time.
Do your homework beforehand
The best way to deal with any uncertainty that you might be feeling is to do your homework beforehand and obtain the travel health information that’s relevant to your destination. This will help you feel more confident and relaxed once you set off on your adventure.
Today’s advancing technology has afforded people ease of life, whether it’s with a smart home or an iPhone, technology is a gift that keeps on giving. For travellers, online check-in is a godsend. Today, a majority of airlines have online check-in, which makes the process run smoothly and avoids long ques at the airport. For first time flyers, simply download the airline app on your mobile device and use it as your boarding pass. You can scan, select seats, add extras, order food and much more with it.
Security doesn’t have to be a nightmare
Flyers often grunt at security lines, but for experienced flyers, we know how to slide through security with ease and we’re willing to share our secrets. Firstly, checking the country’s rules on carrying liquids, medications and electrical items is important before arriving at the airport. Once you know the rules, it will be much easier to breeze through security as you won’t be pulled aside for further checking. Most countries will require you to remove your shoes, bulky items such as coats and anything metal. Be sure to take out all electronics from your bag as these will be scanned separately. Trust us, being prepared and organized will make the process fly by.
Airport lounges are your best friend
As experienced travellers, we’re constantly flying in and out of countries. One of the most gruelling experiences with flying is layovers. They can be anywhere between 30 minutes to 14 hours or more. Sitting in an airport for long hours can be tedious, so airport lounges are great for escaping the crowds and offer a more comfortable setting. Lounges often have a place to eat, drink and work, or relax on a lounge. Some even have showers for travellers to freshen up.
Members get all the benefits
Even though this is your first time flying, we’re betting it won’t be your last, especially if you opt-in for the first-class experience. In saying that, it pays to become a frequent flyer member with your chosen airline. Not only will you gain miles, which are used to purchase food, future flights and more, but also the opportunity to climb the ranks into gold and platinum status, which as you can assume comes with more benefits including priority boarding, free upgrades and loyalty perks.
What to expect on your flight
If you’re a first-time flyer, you probably won’t know that your ears can pop (caused by altitude) or that airplane food is different from what you would expect in a restaurant. When you board a long-haul flight in first or business class, you will find a comfortable seat that reclines, a blanket, headset, monitor and toiletries or amenity kit. The toiletries kit is great for freshening up before you land and will help you adjust to the new time zone.
However, before taking off, one of the ultimate perks is a glass of champagne or wine upon boarding. Alcohol is also offered throughout the flight and often with meal service. As for meals, the quality differs, however in first and business class, travellers can expect a delectable option to satisfy every palate. Don’t be afraid if your ears feel weird, it’s just the pressure caused by a change in altitude. Try swallowing or yawning to alleviate the sensation. As with any flight, you might experience turbulence, but it’s nothing to worry about. If you can’t shake the anxiety, try writing your name over and over again using your non-dominant hand. It helps take your mind off the bumps.
If you’re flying internationally, there is a customs form you will have to fill out before landing. The flight attendants will hand out the necessary forms around 30-minutes before arrival. The forms are easy to complete and often ask for information about the departing country, travel history, intended length of stay and more.