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Getting over the fear of flying

 Aeroplanes at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. [File, Standard]

Many people dream of travelling to many destinations and seeing new places. And with many places opening up, flight tickets have become affordable. 

However, along with all these wishes and offers, there is one part of travel that is not fun to many – flying. For some, the thought of taking a flight is a nightmare. They would rather take other means of transport whenever possible, rather than take the offer of flying.

Experts say that fear of flying can be caused by many factors, among them claustrophobia or fear of heights, resulting in irrational anxiety that they may be doomed if they take a flight.

Psychologically, they may believe that their plane will malfunction and crash, no matter how many times they hear the statistics about how safe flying is compared to driving.

Such travellers panic at the thought that they are not in control of the aircraft that will be carrying them.

To overcome this fear, this is what experts say you should do:

Learn the basics of how airplanes work such as how a plane can continue to fly even if an engine fails, how planes stay in the air, what causes turbulence, the function of the wheels, and what is behind the loud scary sounds during takeoff and landing.

You can also ask yourself such questions as “What is the catastrophe? What do I think will happen? What am I making a big deal out of? Answering these questions before boarding a plane will help neutralise your fear.

Familiarise yourself with the plane by making an effort to know what your plane looks like to make it look a little less scary.

Learn how to choose the right seat; most airlines allow a passenger to request a seat as you book your flight. For first-time flyers, experts recommend an aisle seat, particularly if you are prone to claustrophobia.

This makes you feel secure among other passengers and allows for your moving up and down the cabin. If your fear is height, this allows you not to look out of the window for those sky-high views that might make you nervous.

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