Airport Anxiety – Why Airports are not good for Anxiety Sufferers!

October 24, 2015

Amy Trumpeter

So you love travelling, but suffer from anxiety? I can totally relate to that. Airport anxiety is actually a thing! I’m here to tell you that if there is one trigger for anxiety abroad, it’s the airport.

Here’s why airports are not good for anxiety sufferers and how you can limit the airport related stress!

Airport Anxiety
London Stansted Airport
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

What Triggers Airport Anxiety?

Anxiety Triggers at Airports….

  1. The Crowds – So many people all in one place can feel extremely stressful, especially at busy times when everyone is running past each other. Crowds can make you feel anxious and claustrophobic.
  2. Security – Will I get through in time for my plane? Will they confiscate my make up? Will they make me take my shoes off? Airport security is a ‘high anxiety zone’!
  3. Queues – Standing for long periods of time waiting can make you stressed and anxious.
  4. Duty Free – Please, woman, get that perfume away from me! You have to walk through the busy shops even to get the the gate, and there is no way around the perfume woman!
  5. The Gate – Where is my boarding pass? Do I have enough time to get from security to the Gate? What if I miss my plane?!
  6. Take off – Oh my God, will this thing even stay up there?!?!?
  7. ID Check – Which pocket did I put my passport in? Which language will the passport ID guy speak? Have I even got the right visa?!?!
  8. The Bag Carousel – Will my bag come out? Will my bag rip and display my undies for all to see on the carousel? Can I even grab my bag fast enough? And, what if I get the wrong one by mistake?!?!?! High airport anxiety warning!
Baggage Carousel Image Credit: Thee Erin on flickr (Creative Commons)
Baggage Carousel
Image Credit: Thee Erin on flickr (Creative Commons)

How can you prevent Airport Anxiety?

  1. Visit your GP – If you do experience anxiety or panic attacks, in airports or otherwise, you need to seek advice from your GP. They may be able to offer you support or prescribe medication to curb your panic attacks. If you have a particular problem with flying, make sure that you talk to your doctor before you travel. Carry all necessary medication in your hand luggage. You can also check out this article on 43 tips for fearful flyers.
  2. Hand Luggage Only – If you are flying for only a week, and using a cheap airline such as Easyjet or Ryanair, consider flying hand-luggage only. You will avoid the massive queues at the check-in desk and be faster the other end because you won’t have to wait for your bags to come off the carousel.
  3. Prepare and Print all your Paperwork – This includes checking for visas, printing off a map of your final destination and writing down any phone numbers or email addresses that you will need in an emergency on arrival. Also, make sure that your smartphone has been charged to 100% and your boarding pass is printed if you have the opportunity to do an online check in.
  4. Pre-Package Toiletries for Security – Pre-package your hand luggage toiletries in a clear zip-lock bag and make sure that they are all less than 100ml.

    Toiletries for Airport security
    Toiletries in a zip-lock bag ready for security. 1 bag per passenger and toiletries can be no more than 100ml.
    Image Credit: Jack Kennard (Creative Commons on flickr)
  5. Fast-Track Security – If you are business class or registered disabled, you can go through the ‘fast-track’ security and miss the really busy crowds.
  6. Priority Boarding – Pay extra for priority boarding to skip the queues – I did this recently with Ryanair. Sometimes if you do an online check in and let them allocate your seat, you get priority boarding automatically – so check the top right of your boarding pass, you might be pleasantly surprised.
  7. Upgrade to First Class – If you are a first class or business class passenger, go to the business class check in desk, use the first class lounges and board first at your gate. You will also get more leg room and special treatment on board the aircraft. If you have high levels of airport anxiety, and can afford to upgrade, go for it!
  8. Use the First Class Lounge – If you cannot afford to upgrade to a first class flight, you can at least pay extra to use the first class lounge. Avoid the lack of seating, screaming kids and long food queues by doing this. Get free WIFI, a relaxing and quiet atmosphere to wait for your gate to open and enjoy unlimited free food and drink! Worth the upgrade, particularly if you are working on the go. I use my Priority Pass and it has really helped my airport anxiety.

Do you suffer from airport anxiety? If you have any tips, please share them below.

When I travel I use eDreams to help me to find the cheapest flights and booking.com for hotels and accommodation.

You might also like to read about my Top 10 Travel Tips, Why Travel is Good for Anxiety Sufferers and I had a Panic Attack on an Easyjet Flight.