Flying for the First Time? What to Expect and Advice.

Planes can be intimidating, especially when you have never flown before. But there are times when plane trips are unavoidable, so you must prepare yourself. The first step is understanding what flying is like, and step two is deciding what measures you will take to ensure the best flight possible.

Flying doesn’t feel like anything. Airplanes move at a constant velocity, which means you don’t feel anything, except for take off and landing as well as turbulence. This means that most of your flight will feel like waiting in a stationary room for hours (with a crazy view). Take off and landing is another story however. You will feel the plane’s speed as you either rise or land. I always find that this part is kind of like an amusement park ride. Flights can be cramped, and the taller you are, the less space you seem to have. If you ever feel claustrophobic, feel free to take a walk up the aisle (when you are allowed) and take some deep breaths. Now, if you have a fear of heights, you may be in a different situation. I have an irrational fear of heights myself and this fear restricts me from many activities, like climbing on playgrounds or crossing bridges. Yet, for some reason, planes never seem to bother me. I have no idea why, may be due to my early flight experiences, but I cannot be sure that this won’t effect others. I have only one insistence on a plane where I ever felt afraid due to this fear. I don’t know what triggered this response, but my best ways to avoid this is to stay distracted the entire time and not think too hard about my exact location in the sky. Flying isn’t that bad when it comes down to it.
Here is my advice to new flyers:

1) Bring distractions

Whether you have claustrophobia, fear of heights or just generally nervous, distractions can help make the trip seem easier and more manageable. Some planes have TV’s right in the seats, but many airlines are taking them out so bringing your own stuff is important. Distractions can be books, music, newspapers, crosswords, movies and TV shows (make sure they are downloaded before hand, depending on your flight you will either have no Wi-Fi, or you will have to pay). My most important distraction is gum. This simple distraction can be done everywhere, and can be calming if you need to fidget. I highly recommend it.

2) Don’t expect to sleep

Unless you are confident in your ability to fall asleep everywhere, you may struggle to sleep on the plane. This is definitely a down side to flying, especially when you have a red eye flight. You have limited space, the seats barely recline and it is flat out uncomfortable. I have gone on flights expecting to sleep through its entirety, but it always becomes a torturous restless lack of sleep. I now go on to planes with an open mind regarding sleep. If I happen to fall asleep, that great, but I won’t force myself because I know it simply won’t happen that way. This is better when I get off the plane since I am in a better mood and sleep deprived, then mad I couldn’t sleep sleep deprived. Consider what will be best for you.

3) Consider everything you may need on the flight
Now, there is a balance here as way too many passengers over pack then take up more then their share of the overhead cubbies. But if you are on a long flight, you may need snacks. Overnight? A light blanket or small pillow could help out a lot. Everything they sell on planes is over priced (which is annoying when you consider the expensive nature of the ticket to be there in the first place) so bringing your own stuff can do a lot of good. Look up what you are allowed to bring through customs when planning for bringing snacks. Food in airports tends to be very expensive. The only airport where food is reasonably priced (that I know of) is YVR, were the have rules in place. Yet best to be prepared, you will be flying for a while.

When you really get down to it, flying isn’t that bad. Who knows, maybe the plane will take off and you’ll be perfectly fine? I’ve seen it happen many times before. I hope you have a peaceful and safe flight!