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12th Jul 2017

The tip that can help nervous flyers during take-off

Doing this repeatedly can really ease the fear.

Cathy Donohue

If you’re a nervous passenger, the moment when the plane takes off can be extremely distressing.

Captain Ron Neilsen has been working as a pilot for 40 years and in conversation with Today investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen, he explained what passengers should do in this situation.

Producer of The Today Show, Jovanna Billington, gets very nervous when flying so Ron gave her a tip while they were aboard a special turbulence simulator so she could see how it worked.

Ron explains that although people normally say to take deep breaths when feeling nervous, he says to “tense and tighten everything up while the plane is rolling down the runway”, for at least 30 seconds, and then release.

This releases chemicals such as cortisone and adrenaline which according to Rob, makes you feel calmer.

He says this will break that nervous tension and then you can go back to concentrating on your breathing.

Turbulence during a flight is also difficult to deal with, even if you’re not normally an anxious passenger.

Unexpected movement when flying sky high is enough to give anyone a fright and if you’re a nervous flyer, it’s even more distressing.

Thankfully, Ron has a tip that should help with easing the fear and anxiety that can strike when turbulence occurs.

He says to write your name on your hand over and over again, on paper if you’ve come prepared or trace it with your hand, and using the hand you don’t normally write with is key.

This crosses over the motor function of the brain and gets you to work harder, using the side of the brain that you wouldn’t normally.

Jovanna said she felt much calmer after trying both tips so if you know anyone who suffers from flight anxiety, it might be worth passing it on.