10 fear of flying tips from the most followed therapists on Twitter

Tim Benjamin

I asked the most popular therapists on Twitter for quick and proven tips to reduce your anxiety.

And they’ve come through with some priceless wisdom.

As you read through the list, remember that each tip is one part of the overall solution to beating your fear.

Here’s what the therapists have to say:

1. Dr Earl Henslin

“Usually, these fears go away when people lower their baseline anxiety. To learn how, contact a brain friendly therapist. Meanwhile, you should:

  • Lower anxiety by eliminating caffeine, energy drinks and other stimulants 72 hours before you fly.
  • Load your phone/MP3 player with relaxation or meditation tracks. Practice using these long before you take a flight. That way, you’ll be practiced at slipping into a meditative state quickly.
  • If it is a long flight, take a walk every half hour. Take your time… focus on breathing deeply with each step.”

Find Dr Henslin on Twitter and his website.

2. Dr Keely Kolmes

“One tip is to lower the window shade (so you are not distracted by the scenery rushing by). Then do deep, diaphragmatic breathing. As most flights won’t allow you to listen to an audio recording during takeoff and landing, print a relaxation exercise. Then practice it during take-off.”

Find Dr Kolmes on Twitter and her website.

3. Dr Melanie Greenberg

“Take a deep belly breath for the count of four. Then slowly release it for the count of six. Like you’re blowing out a candle. That will trigger your parasympathetic nervous system. In turn, this will calm the anxiety.”

Find Dr Greenberg on Twitter and her website.

4. Dr Marion Ross

“A simple tip which is great to reduce anxiety is the Over Energy Correction. Cross the left ankle over the right, extend arms with the back of your hands facing each other, bring your right hand over your left, clasp your fingers together, fold arms and hands inward and rest on your chest just under the chin; rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth and breathe deeply for 1 or 2 minutes. This exercise is very calming for acute anxiety and assists in promoting sleep.”

Find Dr Ross on Twitter and her website.

5. Dr Dan Siegel

“Focus on reducing your background anxiety by practicing mindfulness meditation daily – even if it’s just for 5 minutes.”

Find Dr Siegel on Twitter and his website.

6. Dr Lee Keyes

“Desensitization of fear is a natural process; it is already available to us in our make-up. All we have to do is tap into it and be persistent, and it will do its work for us. The main thing that prevents it from working is our failure to take advantage of it.”

Find Dr Keyes on Twitter and Facebook.

7. Dr Elisha Goldstein

“All modes of suffering – including anxiety – arise from the brain’s very simple strategy of trying to get away from here. If we can learn how to be OK with being here, a lot of suffering will cease.”

Find Dr Goldstein on Twitter and his website.

8. Dr Art Markman

“Take a lesson from exposure therapy: face your fear and don’t engage in lots of behaviors designed to make you feel safe. The plane ride will be no fun. And every bit of turbulence will put your heart into your throat. But that is the long-term recipe to overcome your fear. Over time, your anxiety will decrease, because the mechanisms in your brain will learn that the airplane does not actually signal danger.”

Find Dr Markman on Twitter and his website.

9. Mel Schwartz

“The fear of flying often correlates to control issues. When you can release control to another – in this case the pilot – the fear tends to recede.”

Find Mel on Twitter and his website.

10. Dr Linda Miles

“A good tip is to use headphones before the flight and practice self-hypnosis and relaxation. It is best to practice numerous times before the flight so that there is a practice effect.”

Find Dr Miles on Twitter and her website.

More help with in-flight nerves…

When you step inside a plane, do you get that horrible feeling that something bad is going to happen during the flight?

If so, does a part of you feel trapped because you just want to get off – but can’t?

If you know what I’m talking about, do yourself a favour and grab your FREE copy of my eGuide, Trapped: Why You Fear Being Stuck On A Plane – And What To Do About It.

It’s brimming with practical techniques you can start using TODAY (including the 3 vital steps to controlling a panic attack).

Here’s what people are saying about it…

Thank you for making this guide. I’m really glad I found it.” – Lauren.

Once I read what you had to say, I started to laugh in relief. Finally, someone understood.” – David.

Your base of information is awesome, thank you.” – Paul.

Thank you for putting such a valuable resource out there!” – Lisa.

To get your FREE copy instantly, click here.

Leave a comment


  1. Sineadnelson

    I really hope this helps. I have hated planes since the day I was born.

  2. J dog

    I will try them. The last time I flew I had several panic attacks – and high anxiety the whole flight. But I want to overcome my fear of flying as I have a trip planned in August of this year. And another next year to Mexico. So, I gotta beat this.

  3. Erica

    Lowering the window shade actually gives me more anxiety…as the plane makes movements I need to look out the window and see that the plane isn’t out of control, spinning or dropping to the ground. Basically I lose my equilibrium and need to see where the ground focus is…out the window on the earth.

    1. Tim Benjamin

      Hey Erica – great to hear you’ve found a technique that helps 🙂

  4. jennifer dee

    I have anxiety over a lot of things including flying. I am going to excersise, eat right, limit caffeine and eat lots of fruit and vegetables a week before iI am scheduled to fly across the united states.

    1. Tim Benjamin

      Hey Jennifer – that sounds like a great plan. While you’re at it, check out the 21 stress-reducing techniques that have been validated by medical researchers here.

  5. Ella R.

    For everyone speaking of being scared of flying, for this reason: You have a better chance to get struck by lightning, than in a plane crash. Sure, its possible, and has happened before. I can’t help that. But, I actually had the same problem you do. Here are some tips to stay calm during a situation like this, or extreme turbulence while flying:
    1) Breathe deeply, and thoroughly, avoid sharp breaths.
    2) Stay seated and have your seatbelt strapped on at all times. If you must get up, ask a flight attendant if you may. It may seem unhelpful to have the seatbelt on, but it reduces stress from the common use of it in the car.
    3) Order a refreshment. Something to keep your mind off of it.
    4) ALWAYS listen to the flight attendant at the beginning of the flight when they explain safety procedures, in case of a fatal incident.
    5) Watch a movie, or play on a device. It may distract you from all the commotion.
    6) Ask someone for advice, they will always be willing to help another out.
    7) Take some medication that may calm you, or help you sleep. They tend to relax you.
    That’s all! I used these myself, and I found they helped a lot. Especially 6, 7 doesn’t work as well for me considering the fact I haven’t slept in a moving vehicle since I was 4. Anyway, safe travels, and I hoped this helped!
    Enjoy your flight!

    1. Tim Benjamin

      Thanks for your tips Ella 🙂

    2. Laura

      I agree with all your tips except staying seated. For me I feel better if I can move around. I also feel better if I am flying on a 777. Seems this plane has almost no movement. I first time I flew on it I was surprised to see the plane had left the ground. If I can’t feel the plane taking off, I feel much better.

  6. Julia

    One thing that’s really helped me is putting a cup of water on your table so you can see that the plane isn’t pointing down it’s just your mind overthinking

    1. Tim Benjamin

      Nice idea Julia 🙂

    2. Janet

      That is an awesome idea!! My mind plays tricks on me and this would definitely help. Thank you!

  7. Samantha

    I am generally ok flying, until turbulence begins. My heart beat goes up, I feel frightened, and I have to move in my seat to sort of try and match the movement. Had a 5 hour flight yesterday, and what helped a little, was to look at family photos on my iPad. Anxiety dissipates as soon as plane lands.

  8. Sierra

    My parents have always told me that you’re more likely to get into an accident on the way to the airport than have anything going wrong while you’re on the actual plane. I am 19 and just had my first solo trip not to long ago. I love flying but I found listening to your favorite music helps when you’re in the airport becuase it is something familiar to you same goes with food becuase it’s comfortable and familiar. Good luck to all🌍🛫

  9. Tammy

    I’ve had bad anxiety for about 9 years now. Started with a severe panic attack on the highway which then caused driving anxiety. I would have panic attacks at other times as well, including being stuck in traffic or in a seminar etc. It seems that my anxiety is connected to being away from safety (ie hospitals or whatever in case of heart attack) on highway, or stuck in a small area ie. car in traffic or seminar room or airplane! Because of this, I hadn’t flown in 7 years until a couple of years ago. I first went on a 2 hour flight then 4 1/2 hr flight within a couple of months. Honestly both times I had to have a glass of wine and a clonazapam. Being on the right medication has helped over the past couple of years, the highway driving has been better (although I never go by myself). I’m going away in a month for a needed holiday (I also have anxiety when in a different country). My anxiety has crept up again with driving etc the past little while. With your post I’ve now ordered a “guided meditation” album for my iphone (I hope I can listen to it on the flight!). Anxiety is a really crapping thing to have and I always wonder whether there will be a day again where I won’t have it! Thanks for your tips I will try them all!

    1. Chanel

      Tammy your post has been so refreshing to hear. I’m sorry about your anxiety but I am going through the same thing. It’s comforting to know that I am not alone. I’ve only had anxiety for about 4 years now and like you my anxiety began with a sever panic attack. I was in a crowded train in NYC headed to work. Needless to say I have been avoiding crowded trains on and off now for the past 4 years. Sometimes I go months without feeling anxious or any other anxiety symthoms. Lately however I have been feeling more and more anxious. I’ve never been afraid to fly, I am just afraid of having a panic attach on a plane and not being able to get off of the plane and being embarrassed.

      I have a big work trip in a couple of days to San Fran (a 6 hour flight from NYC). I will use all your tips and for the first time as for some medicine to help me get through the flight there and back.

      So many helpful tips and great comments. Thank you everyone!

  10. Happy

    Praying meditating relaxing talking to God and self before and during flying works for me. Also preoccupying my time eating reading a magazine talking to travel partner. Getting excited about my destination helps too.

  11. Deb

    I have always had a fear of flying but when I lived in Ca and my family was in NJ I had to fly. I moved back to NJ and it started again. It’s been 8 years and I’m tired of driving everywhere. I am getting myself ready to take a 2 hr flight for a surprise visit to my son away in college. All of these posts have helped me. Thank you!

  12. Carly

    It is nice to know other people are struggling with these issues. I am flying to Mexico in May and am tempted to cancel my trip because I am so scared about the flight.

    1. Jenna

      I have that same feeling. I’m flying to Amsterdam from Canada, it’s a long flight 10 hours and I’m so nervous that I’m thinking of cancelling. I’ve always wanted to go and don’t know if I will have an opportunity like this again. Stay strong! I’m practising stress relieving and positive thinking and hope it helps

    2. Pussy Galore

      Sitting here reading this I have flying anxiety bad. Turbulence sends me into straight panic attack. As soon as I land I’m okay. Fear is there. I want to cancel already as my anxiety is already building thinking about flying in two weeks. Considering drinking four high balls before my flight. 60 year old female.

  13. Laura

    I had two hypnosis sessions which really helped. But the person needs to be really qualified. I also take zanax when I feel anxious before the flight and I take it again once I am on the plane. Between the two it is a lot better now.

  14. Leah

    I have taken over 300 flights and would have hoped by now, some sort of desensitisation might have kicked in. Unfortunately not. I do have some better flights thank others. That’s mostly however, when I’ve had a few red wines before the flight. I fly almost every week for work and seriously need to get over this. I think I’ve tried almost every trick in the book and sought help from many psychologists, all to no avail. I would love to hear what’s worked for fellow chronic yet acute sufferers.,

    1. Tim Benjamin

      Hey Leah – the trick is obviously to change the way you think about flying. To find out how, check out my free fear of flying guide.

  15. Sev RB

    Hello! Thanks for this article. A lot of great ideas. For the past 3 years I have had stomach problems, which worsen with anxiety. Almost all of the time it is with travelling when I am not in control. ex: skytrain, bus, plane. I am getting a lot better, but have noticed the only place my anxiety really acts up now is when I am on a plane, and we have to all be seated while we taxi out onto the runway until we are at cruising altitude. I would listen to music or watch a movie to distract myself, but during that time none of that is allowed. Any advice? I have a 9hr long flight coming up in 2 months and want to get a head start on chillin myself out, haha. Thanks!

    1. Tim Benjamin

      You’ll be glad to know that many airlines now let you watch videos and listen to audio while taxiing and taking-off 🙂

  16. Lisa Emery

    I am 49 years old and have never flown in a plane before, I am petrified of heights and the fact of not being able to be in control of my surroundings. Me and my boyfriend are going to Alaska next year for a 7 day cruise and we are flying there, believe me if I could get away with driving there I would but I know that’s not logical. I suffer from extreme anxiety, all the advice and tips that I can get would be appreciated.

  17. Danielle

    I really appreciated this article. I have to fly in two days . I have already started stressing over it. I have anxiety medicine but I hate the idea that I have to take medicine or have a glass of wine to make me feel calm in the plane. But after hearing everyone else feedback it’s let’s me know it’s ok if I have to get a little assistance with medication to calm me down on the plane.

  18. Amy

    I have high anxiety about flying lately. Never used to, until a few years ago. Don’t exactly know what triggered the anxiety, but always believe it will be “the last flight I ever take,” and thoughts like “this is the lottery flight 1 in a million that will crash.” These thoughts aren’t logical but it won’t stop me from having a panic attack. The last time I flew, my heart was pounding and felt light headed. I also felt anxiety about the passengers on the plane, that they would sense my anxiety. I can also sense others’ anxiety and it makes it worse. It’s upsetting when you have a trip planned and instead of being excited for the trip itself, I am finding ways to counteract anxiety about flying. The main fear I have is the engines stalling in mind flight or cabin air pressure disintegrating, plane going upside down, nose diving into ocean etc.

  19. Musthafa

    Thanks for these valuable tips.

    Even though I had more than 30 intl flights with 5-6 hours duration, I now feel anxiety after a recent panic attack while driving. I simply feel what will happen if another panic attack occurs at the airport or on the board. Now I pray a lot ..

  20. teresa Aflleje

    I’m flying a 2 1/2 hour flight in Sept. I’ve been on a plane years ago. I am already very anxious about the flight ( its 3 months away) think I’ll get some meds to help. Maybe it’s a fear of dying

  21. Alex

    I hope this helps. I didn’t enjoy my first flight trip.

  22. Barb

    I fly sometimes 3 times a year . I hate turbulence. I notice others could care less right in the middle of it . That helps relax me and flying with wine has helped . I will try listening to my music .

  23. Annette @ BucketListJourney

    Excellent article! I love all the spirit of the articles, to face your fears in a rational, practical way. Dr. Marion Ross’s Over Energy Correction is an excellent exercise. I had not heard of that before. This article can be applied to several others and anxieties and fears apart from flying. Thank you for the read!

  24. Maria Elisa

    I’m terrified of flying, this is something kinda recent no more than 15 years, I’m 48. Is getting worse, I have to fly theee times a year for work usually 5-7hr flights, and my mother lives abroad so if I want to see her I have to fly.

    Tomorrow I’m flying and will be going to three countries in two weeks time, asked my doctor for help and he prescribed alprozalam, tomorrow will be my first time trying it.

    Honestly, I would cancel if I could…

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