Jane said: “The fear of flight is known as aviophobia and defined as the extreme avoidance of planes or activities and places associated with them.”
Many people with aviophobia will suffer from extreme anxiety and panic before or during a flight. This could impact their ability to travel abroad for a holiday or stop them visiting friends or family overseas.
However, Jane said there are a few things that people with aviophobia can try to reduce their fear.
Get used to crowds
Jane said: “A big part of the anxiety about flying is the unpredictability of events, lack of control and not knowing what will happen.
“This can be relieved by visiting places beforehand and developing a familiarity with that environment.
“So, if the airport is close to home, you could visit it on a day prior to your flight. Get used to any crowds, the noise of the planes, and other airport related sounds.”
People could visit the airport ahead of their flight and adjust to the environment by spending some time at a cafe there or just wandering around.
Eating the right things
“Eating the right things is important as certain foods are said to reduce anxiety such as brazil nuts,” said Jane.
She added: “Keep hydrated during the flight by avoiding alcohol or other stimulants and drinking lots of water instead.”
Although it could be tempting to enjoy a glass of wine on a flight, it’s best avoided if passengers are suffering with nerves.
Lots of water and food such as brazil nuts could help tourists to feel calmer during their flight if they’re anxious.
Speak to staff
Jane said: “Let cabin crew know when you board if you have a fear of flying or are anxious about any aspects of the flight.
“A visit to the flight deck where the flight crew can explain more about the technical side of aviation and the reasons behind any unnerving noises can prove very beneficial.”
Cabin crew may be able to help passengers who have a fear of flying and can check up on them if they’re particularly anxious.
Speaking to staff about concerns could also help to alleviate some worries. For example, although turbulence may feel scary the reality is that the plane is often barely moving in these situations.
Take a course
“Take a fear of flying course with a major airline where pilots and cabin crew provide hints,tips and coping mechanisms for dealing with aviophobia,” said Jane. “An expertly run course can help passengers take to the skies with increased confidence and support.”
Some airlines, including British Airways, run fear of flying courses which could help passengers get over their anxieties for good.
If a person’s aviophobia is stopping them getting on a plane at all, a fear of flying could be very beneficial.
Jane Hawkes shares consumer tips and advice on her blog at ladyjaney.co.uk.