The recent news of the Southwest Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday may make even the calmest flier a bit anxious for their next flight. As someone who is already a walking ball of stress every time she boards a plane, the thought of boarding one in the next few weeks is terrifying. However, not flying isn’t really a choice for many of us. In 2016, U.S. travelers took 458.9 million domestic business trips and this is expected to reach 478.2 million by 2020. But there are certain things you can do to calm your nerves (even if it is only slightly) that you may want to keep in mind for your next trip.
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Equip yourself with facts
Yes, the Southwest Airlines news was terrifying and the photos made it all the more real. But these events are extremely rare. Read up before the flight (or even during) on how flying is the safest mode of transportation. Remember you only have a 1 in 9,821 chance of dying from an air and space transport incident making flying one of the safest forms of transportation. SOAR is a useful app for this that was designed by a pilot and focuses on explaining everything about your plane and that happens while you fly.
Make an entertainment pack
Remember when you were a kid going on a long road trip and your mom packed you with all your coloring books and comic books? Well, you need to do that now for your grownup self. Look at the flight as a time to completely check out of the real world and just distract yourself. Be sure to download some books and TV shows or a calming playlist. If you need to work on the flight make sure there is a Wi-Fi option.
Ashley Nelson is a travel and health and wellness expert and the founder of On the 10. She told Ladders that meditation always helps her stay calm. “For me I think it’s important to remember to breathe and that there is someone else handling the situation so I try to meditate and put myself in a place where I can stay calm and do breathing exercises.”
Sit in the front
We know there is now going to be a massive battle to sit in an aisle seat every time you fly but if you are a bad flier also try to sit in the front of the plane. If turbulence makes you anxious, as it does for many panicked fliers, sitting up front can help tremendously as turbulence has less of an impact. Also keep your eye on the flight attendants as they never look upset during turbulence and continue to do their jobs. It’s just like going over a bump or pothole when you are driving. SkyGuru is a useful app that offers weather forecasts and turbulence forecasts for your flying route.
According to WebMD, the humidity level on airplanes is close to half the amount of normal levels, making it easy for any frequent flyer to get sick and dehydrated which can contribute to a panicked feeling. Drinking water (though alcohol may seem like a natural option for soothing reasons) and staying away from salty food is a good start but you can also try using towelettes to keep your face moist. If you are looking to try to sleep on the flight without a prescription from a doctor something like Beauty zzZz helps you sleep and also replenishes you with vitamins. If you are sick of water opt for something like the Beyoncé-approved WTRMLN Water which has an extra boost of hydration, electrolytes, and vitamins.
Drown out the noise
Sometimes weird plane noise alone can send an anxious flier down the rabbit hole of complete panic. This is the time to invest in noise canceling ear phones. Forbes ranks these as the best.
This article originally appeared on Ladders, a publication dedicated to breaking news, opinion, analysis and advice at the cutting edge of our changing workplace. For more, sign up for Ladders' newsletter here.