Second City Network

9 Ways to Get Over Your Fear of Flying


No matter how many years into the future we currently are*, many people still fear the wonder that is human flight. Beyond the perils of overpriced tickets, baggage fees, delays, tiny seats and hoards of people, there is the intense fear of unexpectedly falling 30,000 feet to your doom.

Chin up, traveler!

Flying remains the safest means of transportation. But if you are still convinced you’re the 1-in-19-million person in mortal danger**, try these handy tips while zooming through the clouds.

Keep your mind off the flight.

When I can’t seem to stop staring out the window at the wing waiting for the Twilight Zone demon to appear, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and go to another place. That place: my home, where I’ve left the gas stove on and all my candles lit. What are the odds of TWO disasters in one day?

Bring something to do.

There is a great chance you have on hand a smart phone, iPod, tablet, laptop and an US Weekly.  After all, we live in THE FUTURE and care deeply about Bethenny. When using all instruments simultaneously, you can efficiently block out all sounds, thoughts and feelings.

Have a drink.

A tiny bottle of liquor takes the edge off your terror and seven dollars off your hands.  And for reasons unknown, an airplane is a judgment-free zone for downing chardonnay at 7am. Thanks, flying!

Bring something to eat.

Food is comfort. Just know your motion sickness proclivity. Food is not comfort in your hair.

Bring a friend.

So you suffer from an acute flying-phobia that kept you dreaming the whole night before of a dramatic Hollywood scenario where you grip hands in your final moment with the attractive stranger in 16A. But would you ever imagine that same fate for someone else? Nope. Book the same flight as Kato, your ex-Marine co-worker who shows his knife-fight scars to anyone who will look. He ain’t goin’ down like that.

Explore a new religion.

It never hurts to have your bases covered.

Science up.

Not into spirituality? Turns out planes fly because of lift and drag and speed and a whole host of factors that were brought up in high school physics. If only those facts had been written into a play or on the back of Ryan Parker***’s pants, I’d know them cold.

Get to know your crew.

Sure, Phyllis the Surly Stewardess may have been hard when you asked for the whole can of apple juice, but that iron lady casually leafed through O, The Oprah Magazine while the plane recreated a stage of Galaga. If she’s cool, you’re cool.


Sparingly and legally. Preferably not ones you bought in Mexico labeled “Zanex.” But hey, you’re washing them down with 7 am wine, so do what you gotta do.

*For the record, 13. The 2000s are officially “The Future.”

**Real statistic that I repeat in between Hail Marys during take-off.

***Name not changed. You’re welcome, buddy.


Natalie Shipman is an alum of The Second City Touring Company and ComedySportz Chicago.  She currently writes, acts, teaches improv and performs stand-up around the city. Follow her on Twitter: @natalinasp.