Once upon a time, there was no need for air travel tips on how to beat anxiety on a flight. Air travel was sophisticated, luxurious, and even downright calming.
In the so-called “golden age” of air travel, the 1950’s, the economy class simply did not exist. Every passenger was treated to sumptuous amenities like steak dinners and sleeping rooms.
While mom and dad smoked at the plane’s open bar, little Jimmy could play with toys and even visit the cockpit.
Things began to change in the 1970s, though non-ticketed individuals could still pass through security up to 9/11.
Of course, that infamous date changed air travel forever. The government created the TSA, took control of airport security, and made everyone start measuring their liquids in terms of milliliters.
The days of stress-free air travel have ended, likely never to return. In this brave new world of full-body scanners and cramped cabins, air travel has become downright panic-inducing.
To avoid a meltdown on your next flight, keep in mind these air travel tips to eliminate stress.
Namaste, Weary Traveler
No one doubts the relaxation potential of yoga. While some varieties emphasize sweat and aerobic-like “flows", most yoga classes aim more to calm the mind than tone the body.
This soothing form of yoga is the kind you will stumble across in more and more airports around the world.
If you find it difficult to see the divine spark in your fellow travelers, or if the blood pressure in your heart chakra has spiked, find a yoga class and sun salutation your way back to calm.
If your airport lacks a yoga studio, look for a meditation room. For many people, the noise and busyness of airports serve as a stressor in itself.
Meditation rooms emphasize silence and provide a respite from the absurd bustle of your terminal.
In airports that have neither of these amenities, there exists one guaranteed alternative to soothe your soul and calm your mind. Simply locate a terminal meeting point, sit back, and bear witness to the joyful reunions of separated lovers, friends, and family members.
If you’ve lost your faith in humanity — and let’s be honest, we all have at least once in an airport — this kind of people watching will provide a soothing palliative.
Give Yourself a Gift
A wise man once said: “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen.”
In terms of air travel tips, you won’t find many better than this.
To destress at an airport, simply be kind to yourself. The thrill of a frivolous purchase or experience can soothe your anxious spirit and deflate your moodiness.
Want a trashy magazine? Buy three of them.
If you’re hungry, don’t subsist on a food bar. Find an actual restaurant, sit down, and, if you drink, order a couple cold ones with your meal.
Airports know that passengers need to relax, and have commonly moved to capitalize on this.
If you want to splurge, you can likely find a vending machine that sells high-end headphones and other electronics.
If that seems steep, consider the value of your sanity, then park yourself in the massage chair. At some airports, you may even find a full-service spa.
If you’ve ever wondered about those mysterious airport lounges, which seem as cloistered and private as masonic lodges, slake your curiosity with a day pass.
While you won’t find esoteric rituals or robed figures engaged in chants, you will experience an oasis of calm and service. Inside the lounge, you’ll enjoy comfortable chairs, free drinks, soothing music, and WiFi. There’s also no need to spring for a pricey annual membership. Instead, simply purchase a day pass the next time you have a long wait between flights.
The King of Air Travel Tips: Preparation
Planning and foresight represent the two trump cards for travelers who want to destress their airport experience.
It’s no secret that most stress originates with security clearance. We worry that the line is too long, or moving too slowly; that we may have forgotten to separate our liquids; that we might fumble at the checkpoint and anger those behind us.
Worst of all, we worry that we might, for whatever reason, be pulled to the side for an invasive pat-down and inspection.
Thankfully, you can avoid practically all of these problems with planning. If you do not understand rules around packed items, simply read them the night before your flight.
Take plenty of time to pack, and always arrive at the airport two hours early to account for long lines.
Also, there do exist strategies that allow you to waltz through security and avoid practically all the annoyances associated with checkpoints. TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are two programs that allow for domestic and international travelers to skip the most onerous aspects of checkpoints.
While surprisingly affordable, the requirements for these do take a little time to satisfy, so don’t wait until the night before your trip.
A Word on Safety
Lastly, if airline safety stands as the source of your anxiety, rest easy. Air travel has never been safer than in the modern era.
Remember earlier, when we covered the “golden age” of flying? International flights could take as long as 12-days.
Additionally, all those free martinis and sleeping bunks simply meant you’d be drunk or unconscious when the plane went down, which they did with alarming frequency.
Now, 42,000 flights occur across the planet on a daily basis. On those planes exist 2.5 million passengers that will almost certainly arrive at their destinations safe and sound.
In 2016, for example, only 412 people died in airline-related accidents, compared to more than 37,000 in car crashes.
Despite the cramped leg room and bland food, airline travel represents an incredible convenience.
Flights to anywhere on the globe take hours, not days, and budget carriers have made flying cheaper than ever. The next time you have an upcoming trip, don’t let stress wear you down.
Instead, follow some of our handy airline travel tips to land in your destination calm, content, and unafraid of the trip home.