Nervous about flying? Read this.

I’ll be the first to admit it than when I fly, sometimes I do get scared. I love flying – I really do. But, at a high altitude when the cabin starts to shake violently, you can’t help but feel just a tad bit nervous.

British Airways is hosting a course at Heathrow on November 29, 2014 to help nervous flyers hoping to see their loved ones abroad this Christmas. British Airways’ one-day Flying with Confidence course has helped more than 45,000 people over the past 25 years and the November courses traditionally see an increase in the number of people hoping to overcome their fears in time to visit family and friends at Christmas.

The course addresses a number of areas of concern including how an aircraft operates, turbulence and gives advice from clinical psychologists including relaxation techniques. It also draws on the experience and expertise of the airline’s highly trained pilots and cabin crew who run the course.

Course instructor and British Airways pilot Captain Steve Allright, said: “We will be carrying hundreds of thousands of customers visiting their loved ones over the festive period – and we want to make sure every single person has an enjoyable flight.

“The British Airways Flying with Confidence course will help alleviate any concerns and ensure more people can travel.”

Captain Allright shares his top 10 tips for nervous flyers;

  • Remember that turbulence is uncomfortable but not dangerous. It is a perfectly normal part of flying caused by nature.
  • Learn to control your breathing. When you feel anxious, hold your breath, then take a long deep breath in, followed by a long deep breath out. Continue long deep breathing.
  • Combine the deep breath in with a muscle contraction. Clenching your buttocks is most effective, as it overrides other nervous signals going up and down your spinal cord.
  • Aircraft like to be in the air. They are designed to be in the air. Pilots and cabin crew like to be in the air also, it is a very normal, safe environment for them to be in.
  • Understand lift. The wings enable aircraft to fly, not the engines. A commercial aircraft flying at 30,000ft can glide for 100 miles even if all the engines fail.
  • Split a long flight up into half hour sections. Go with a plan of things to do, perhaps things you never get round to. Write a letter, watch a film, read a book, eat a meal.
  • Pilots undergo a rigorous selection procedure and are among the most highly trained and tested professionals on earth. They are subjected to simulator tests every six months.
  • Commercial aircraft are incredibly safe and well maintained, and are checked before every flight by pilots and engineers. Routine maintenance is conducted at regular, specified intervals by licensed engineers.
  • Air traffic controllers are trained and licensed professionals operating under a very strict set of rules. All pilots have to abide by the rules of the air.
  • Visualize yourself stepping off the aircraft into the arms of loved ones, or into a lovely warm climate, or into a successful business meeting.

Do these tips help you feel safer about flying?

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