Why don't I start things going with some of my top hints and tips?

The fear of flying is not a weakness...it's just the way you are.

A fear of flying can be overcome.

Develop a strategy and have realisable objectives.

Remember that planes don't defy the laws of gravity.

Learn to use breathing and relaxation techniques.

Find thought stopping methods to prevent negative thoughts.

Planes don't plummet...they descend.

Remember that turbulence may be uncomfortable but that's not the same as dangerous.

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The pilot can open his DV window.

Concentrating on deep breathing and relaxation techniques really does help , but it is important to practise them before the flight so you are familiar with doing them.

Pilots have families/ relatives/ friends to go home to, so would they take risks which would endanger themselves.
Ok here goes Caro's top tips:
We are allowed only 1 WHAT IF then ping the elastic on your wrist really hard
Think probability and statistics and scientific facts...
Think opposite to how we normally think about flying i.e positively ...CBT
Normalise flying...pilots arent superhuman and DONT NEED EXTRA INSURANCE COVER
There are back up systems for everything
Planes can glide
Dont think words like plummet, terror, passengers screaming,etc..uh oh too late.. ping!
Breathe in through the nose... and hold... then out... slowly
Tense every muscle everywhere then let go of each muscle one by one
How is sounds and feels is not how it is
Plane is in thick air like jelly and cant fall
Birds dont fly in clouds or at night
Remember the plane on the course in Alton go back to then and hearing Keith..remember the take off with the noise and then the take off with the nice music playing or in silence. Take off is not dangerous. It feels unsafe as you get funny feelings and so noisy but is perfectly normal like starting a car and driving off.
Meet the pilot and chat to the crew if you can before flight
No coffee, light foods and lots of sleep
If something catches fire it is put out automatically ( I think thats right isnt it Keith? maybe can you confirm that if poss - am sure we went over it sorry!)
Yes that's right

Cabin fires are dealt with by the cabin crew...automatic extinguishers are in the toilets, engines and baggage areas.

Keith
Ok and just 1 what if...if the automatic extinguishers in the engines dont work then there is a back up system isnt there?
What do you think? You know the answer don't you? How would you design the plane?

Well they've done it better! PING!

Keith
Concentrate on the destination and how much you've been looking forward to being there / Take a guide of where you are going to start making plans and looking forward to it

Think about your friends who fly all the time without fear - to them it's banal, just a way of going where they need to

Take a notebook with you to express your thoughts rather than keep them for yourself

Take a sudoku book with you to concentrate on something if needs be

Think about the crew - they do this every day just like you do your job!
Thank you so much I am thinking all these things. They really help.
I have some friends who fly for a living and it really helps me to think of them.
Thanks again, am going through all my notes, am all packed. I wish i could say I wasnt scared. Am looking around at my things in my flat and feel so safe. Will try to take thse calm and safe feelings with me..flying is normal.
This may seem completely random but bear with me!

I was on a cross-channel ferry at the weekend, returning from France. We were in the restaurant having a meal and the boat seemed to be rocking heavily from side to side, yet the water seemed pretty calm. I felt a bit panicky, convinced we were going to capsize. Of course we didn't! Later in the crossing, I went outside on the deck at the back of the boat. Although the boat was still rocking to the same extent, it didn't seem nearly as bad because I could put it into context when I could see the horizon.

It just reminded me of something I'd read about you not being able to judge movement in a plane properly because you cannot see the horizon in front of you. It may feel like you are falling but it is your balance systems (ears, eyes) playing tricks on you because you have no frame of reference.

I had a little smile to myself on the back of that ferry - it's nice to have some 'proof' of a theory!
Great stuff Jo.

Keith
For what it's worth, I've found that keeping your mind occupied on something else during stressful parts of the flight (be it takeoff, turbulence or landing) seems to help alleviate the anxiety levels. For me it's crosswords (I once managed to get through a period of clear air turbulence by doing this). I guess it's something that gets you to focus your mind and prevents *you* from letting *it* run away with itself.

Thanks again for a top notch site, the resources on here are second to none.
One thought that always helps me is when I consider the job of being an air steward or stewardess (hope that's the right terminology!). As far as I know this isn't considered high risk employment and when you consider how many flights they must take in their careers it must show that flying is a perfectly safe occupation. If my son or daughter told me tomorrow that they were going to apply to join the cabin staff of, say, Air France I wouldn't worry for a second about their safety and would be very happy that they'd found something they wanted to do.
I flew on an american airlines plane to new york and was able to listen to the flight deck the whole way. it was a brilliant help, they discussed on which altitude there was turbulance and requested to change to avoid it so when ever you felt the plane bump about you knew there wasn't a problem and the pilots on several planes knew it was there. at one point (obviously not thinking a anyone would be dull enough to be listening at 3 am) our pilot was talking to two other pilots on other planes about how beautiful italian woman were!!!

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