Overcoming Flying Fears

by Dave Carbonell, PhD

Overcoming flying fears will be easier if you are willing to make some adjustments in your behavior. The principal adjustment you need to make is to become better at accepting the role of passenger.

What is the role of a passenger?

You don't have much to do, as a passenger. That's why the root of the word is "passive". You want to go somewhere, and you've paid the airline to take you. Your role is to show up, sit where they tell you, and wait till they tell you to get off. It's a waiting room in the sky! Their people, along with the FAA staff, on the plane and on the ground, will take care of everything while you sit there.

The role of passenger: "baggage that breathes"

Fearful fliers hate this! They want to feel "in control". They want to control what they feel during the flight - the emotions, physical sensations, and thoughts they experience during the flight. Not only that, but they also want to control aspects of the flight itself. They want to have a flight without turbulence, for example. They want a flight that takes off on schedule, and lands on schedule. They want a pilot who makes frequent announcements, keeping the passengers informed.

But passengers don't, and can't, control any of that. Not the schedule. Not the turbulence. Not even the thoughts, emotions, and sensations you experience.

Overcoming Flying Fears
By Being A Passenger

Trying so hard to control things that you can't control is what builds and maintains the fear of flying. Resisting the role of passenger keeps you afraid.

Becoming more accepting of the role of passenger will help you to diminish the fear, and travel in increasingly greater comfort. Take a look at the AWARE steps for some ideas of how to acquire this accepting attitude and behavior.

Back to Fear of Flying from Overcoming Flying Fears

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© 2010-2024 David Carbonell, PhD.  Anxiety Coach® is a registered mark.
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Last updated on June 25, 2024