How to Avoid Panic Attacks on Flights

How to Avoid Panic Attacks on Flights

Avoiding panic attacks is a topic that there is increasing awareness about. More people are starting to recognise the causes and symptoms of anxiety, and more people are happy to challenge the stigma and get it out in the open.

Because my medical conditions (asthma, epilepsy, anxiety) are classed as ‘unseen disabilities’, it makes it more difficult for people to be aware that I need help if I don’t tell them.

But, of course, due to pressures of society, I have previously and subconsciously learned to brush them under the carpet or deny that they exist. Now, I know that I have to declare my epilepsy, asthma and anxiety, especially when I fly alone, as this is better than being responsible for a medical emergency! I’m less embarrassed to admit these things now that I have matured. Well, kind of matured, anyway! 😉

Panic attacks on flights
Boarding an Easyjet Plane!
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Preventative Methods – How to Avoid Panic Attacks on Flights

I’m currently working through a few ideas about ‘preventative methods’ with my counsellor. Prevention is better than cure. Most of the time, I am happy and able to travel well. However, that is only if I put certain procedures in place, especially when travelling alone.

I’m definitely not afraid of flying. Hell, I’ve done it for 30 years! It’s just a problem when unexpected things occur and I don’t have a plan in place. It’s also when there are large crowds and I don’t have an exit strategy!

Read about the time I had a Panic Attack boarding an Easyjet Flight!

I don’t want to put people off flying. If you suffer from certain medical conditions, are an anxious person or experience anxiety in certain situations, here are my top tips to help you…

Top Tips to Avoid Panic Attacks on Flights

  1. Speak to your doctor beforehand, and make sure that (if you are medicated) you have the correct medication or coping strategies in place. Get your GP’s permission to travel.
  2. Consider flying hand luggage only to reduce the stress of checking in and waiting for baggage on the conveyer belt.
  3. Do NOT volunteer to put your hand luggage in the hold, change seats or move, especially if you need medication with you or if it will cause you distress.
  4. Inform the Airline BEFORE you travel, so that they are aware of any medical conditions (including anxiety).
  5. Ask your GP for a note to get you through FAST TRACK security and KEEP MEDICINE WITH YOU. Also some medical conditions require you to have a GP letter to state that you are fit to fly. Check with the airline terms and conditions.
  6. If you are registered disabled, you can apply for a Blue Badge which will suffice. Simply show this and explain that you medical condition does not allow you to wait in quest or be in crowded places.
  7. When you get to the gate inform the boarding desk of your conditions and explain that you need to either board FIRST or LAST and have your MEDICATION WITH YOU!

If I had followed the above, it could have prevented my panic attack on an Easyjet flight, so I will definitely be putting these in place for future solo journeys.

Travel with Anxiety IS Possible!

One of the purposes of my blog is to encourage people who suffer from these kinds of conditions to still believe that they can travel. I actually feel that in some circumstance, travel is good for anxiety sufferers, because it forces you to live in the now.

Travel is often ok for people who have their anxiety controlled (check with your GP, of course, who may give you a ‘fitness to travel’ note).

I hope that you will read my blog and see what is really possible. YOU control your ANXIETY, don’t let your ANXIETY control YOU! 😉

You might also want to read about Airport Anxiety or my last 24 hours in Serbia.

Amy Trumpeter

Hi, I'm Amy and I love solo backpacking. I've been travelling on and off for over 20 years and spent time as a digital nomad. My writing focuses on Asia, Europe and North Africa. I travel with chronic illness and don't let it hold me back! I'm here to help you to earn money online and travel the world!

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