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How to Overcome Your Fear of Flying or At Least Learn to Live With It! 
 
by Libby Pelham June 17, 2005

Once You Arrive at the Airport

It helps reduce flying stress if you know what to have and what to do before you leave. That way, you can have a comfortable, confident attitude going in. If you aren’t traveling with a baby or oversized cargo, you can check your luggage outside the doors of the airport. This is usually quicker than checking your luggage inside. Be sure to have a picture ID ready. This is required when checking in and when going through security. Resist the urge to nervously joke when they ask if anyone else packed your suitcase. While joking may have merely annoyed employees before September 11, it is now serious business and can land you in a lot of unnecessary trouble. When you reach security, be prepared to take everything out of your pockets and lay any carryon luggage on the conveyor belt. You may be asked to take your shoes off at certain airports. Don’t be offended if security wants to go through your suitcase – they are only doing their job to help keep you and all the other passengers safe! Finally, turn off your cell phone before the plane takes-off and keep it turned off during flight.

Know Bumps and Sounds

When you fly for the first time, you may get nervous every time you hear a noise or feel a bump. But noises and bumps on a plane are normal. You don’t panic in the car every time you hear a noise or feel a bump and there is no need to panic in the plane either! Here is a list of a few things you can watch for:

  • Before you take off, the lights will flicker and the cabin pressure will change. The change in cabin pressure may cause your ears to hurt slightly. Ears may also hurt during take-off and landing because of the pressure change.
  • You may hear a banging when the crew is shutting the luggage doors.
  • If it is cold, you may sense a funny smell. This is the heat coming on, not the plane burning.
  • You may hear a “bing” sound. This is the pilot’s way of alerting the crew that something is going to happen, like take-off.
  • You will hear the motors as you take-off.
  • Once you take-off, the landing gear will have to retract. This will make a bumping noise.
  • Once the pilot is at the desired elevation, you may get a lightheaded feeling and hear the engines reducing power. This is just the plane leveling off.
  • Turbulence will cause the plane to shake. But remember, it is okay for the plane to shake. Just like trees in a storm, those that sway with winds survive better than those that remain rigid and break.
  • If there is going to be turbulence, the pilot will announce it on the loud speaker. Air traffic controllers notify him of all possible turbulence.
  • When landing, you may sense a slight falling feeling. This is the descent and perfectly normal.
  • You will hear the landing gear as you descend.
  • After landing, you will feel a pull as the pilot puts on the brakes to stop the plane.

If something happens and you are not sure what is going on, ask the stewardess. They are seasoned flyers and will be happy to calm your nerves with answers.

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