Tips For Flying With Claustrophobia

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Today I am taking two small airplanes with U.S. Airways. I am making a trip to see my best friend of 10 years, who is a military wife and thus moves around a lot. I have not been to visit her since January 2011 – so roughly 3 years. She has visited us but I want to meet her halfway!

My biggest concern is my claustrophobia. We discovered it when I was on high school and had to have an MRI done. I had multiple panic attacks and my respiratory system shut down three times. They couldn’t complete the test.

I’ve flown a few times since then and wanted to share my tips for conquering my claustrophobia on these trips.

1. If you can, speak to your primary care physician about getting a temporary anxiety medication. This is my #1 because it essentially puts me to sleep and I get a good little nap on my flight.

2. Bring distractions that you can use with your eyes closed or that will help you zone out. If you can’t see your close quarters or can zone out of them it helps. Listen to music or audio books, or lose yourself in a real book or magazine while you fly. I even bought myself some cute little Hello Kitty “play packs” that include a coloring book, stickers, and crayons.

3. Try not to wear restrictive clothing. My go-to flying gear is as follows: yoga pants, t-shirt, zip-up hoodie. I don’t care if I look like a bum, I want to be comfortable! Comfortable clothing will make you feel less restricted and help ease your uneasiness.

4. Remember to breathe. It’s just an airplane and you’ll get off eventually into a nice wide-open terminal!

5. Try to get an aisle seat, so you can get up and walk around if anxiety kicks in. I happened to get lucky with my flights today, but you can always request them. Some airlines charge extra for these accomadations, however, so be sure to look into pricing!

What are your tips for flying with claustrophobia?

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