KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Flying in a plane can sometimes be the worst part about someone’s vacation, but it doesn’t have to be.

The term aerophobia means the fear of flying and is reported to affect 25 million Americans every year.

This phobia stems from all causes including news stories and the fear of the unknown. All ages are affected, however, those 17-34 are more susceptible.

If you or someone you know are reluctant to jet off, these expert tips can prevent you from staying grounded.

  1. Normalize your feelings

It is perfectly normal to feel anxious during air travel. Experts say recognizing your fear instead of pushing it to the side will actually make it less scary.

2. Bring sensory inhibitors

You may want to try using headphones or sleep masks to alleviate sensory overload. Sometimes the noises the aircraft can make to simply looking around can cause anxiety to be worse. Try playing your favorite song all throughout the flight.

3. Avoid caffeine.

Caffeinated suppressants can do the exact opposite when trying to remain calm. Sodas, coffee, and energy drinks are prone to keep you more alert along with a faster heartbeat. These effects can heighten your anxiety and can even cause an upset stomach.

McNabb Center Clinical Therapist, Shannon Dow, “There are many reasons that flight anxiety occurs in just about everyone,” says McNabb Clinical Therapist, Shannon Dow. “From turbulence, claustrophobia, and the loss of control, it is no wonder it affects so many people.”

Photo provided by: Molly Simonson Lee

One passenger took to social media to share an in-flight moment that has went viral. One flight attendant in Charlotte, NC comforted a nervous passenger during a Delta flight to New York. Floyd Dean-Shannon spent the majority of the flight keeping this flyer company and alleviating her fears.

For more information and to seek local treatment, visit the McNabb Center’s website or give them a call at 865-257-9982.