Coping with Airport Delays
Airport delays are an unfortunate and common part of flight travel and can occur for a number of reasons. When there are delays, even those who do not suffer from aerophobia can become annoyed and agitated but for those who have the phobia and have achieved their target of booking a flight, checking-in at the airport and are waiting in the departure lounge, the prospect of a long delay may add to their anxiety and cause them to suffer the effects of their phobia to a greater extent.
Plan AheadIt is common for flights to be delayed and often people find that they expect a delay of some kind especially when international flights are to be taken. Those who are scared of flying may be tempted to allow themselves to believe that the delays are because of problems with the aeroplane when in fact there are many issues that may have caused the delay. It might be that the weather conditions are not suitable or that there are staffing problems, or even that the aeroplane has been late arriving from its international location and needs extra time for cleaning, restocking, refuelling and safety checks. When you are planning your flight always make sure you have made provision in the event of a delay.Take some money to buy refreshments and reading material. If you have any tapes or CD that you particularly enjoy or have any therapeutic courses that can be listened to, take these as well.If you are travelling with children, travel games and magazines can help to keep them occupied allowing you a less stressful experience.
Keep Yourself BusyThere are many possible distractions that can be used during the airport experience. In some ways this may help you overcome your phobia as you will be exposed to the environment for longer periods and may find that your fear lessens over this time and you become more relaxed.The airlines are usually very understanding if you inform them of your fear and may be able to provide a quiet spacious room where you can wait away from crowds and the constant bustle of the airport.
Coping StrategiesIf you are beginning to feel the effects of your phobia increasing, try to remain calm and in control by keeping your breathing steady and slow. It may be that you need to rely on techniques learned in therapy sessions or have to try and use distraction as a way of staying in control.Many people will be prescribed medication to help them with their anxiety whilst flying and it can be tempting to take more medicines to help you cope during times of delays but this is not a good idea and all drugs should be taken only as prescribed as they may cause long term damage to health.It may also be tempting to use alcohol as a way of coping but again this is not recommended as alcohol has been proven to increase anxiety and cause irrational behaviours.Other passengers can be a great source of support and encouragement so spend some time networking and finding out your fellow travellers as they may well be going to the same the destination as you or may also be experiencing effects of aerophobia.
Often delays are unavoidable and part of the flying experience so it is worthwhile spending some time thinking about how you will manage the situation and what interventions can be implemented to help you cope with the delay.