How to reduce the stress of flying

Have you got a phobia of flying? Or do the hidden costs of many flights make you anxious? Don’t worry, we’ve put together some expert advice to help you stay calm before, during and after you fly...

5 mins

From take o­ff to passing through security, flying is stressful. And as airlines continue to factor privileges we once took for granted (food, leg room) into ticket prices, more than ever you get what you pay for.

But whether you’re looking to ease your body, wallet or sanity, you can make life at 30,000 feet much easier…

Stress-free flight booking 

First up is booking. Even this has its pains. Price comparison sites lower flight costs, but you still have to pay. Handily, some airlines and booking sites now let you spread payments with no interest, so it’s less of a bind. Then there’s getting the right seat.

Then there’s getting the right seat. Some 70 airlines o‑ er upgrade auctions up to 72 hours before flying. It’s a good way to bag more leg room at a cheap price – if you stick to your guns. But there are other ways to nab comfort. Apps now offer seat alerts, so if a row empties prior to departure day, you can switch in advance. 

Check out SeatBoost, the first app to let you ‘live bid’ on seat upgrades right up until departure.

Stress-free at the airport

Your phone can help with all sorts of stress-relieving shortcuts, from e-tickets to getting through security faster. You can even download an app to check your bag dimensions, avoiding worse hassles later on.

Think ahead to what you’ll need. If you’ve got a long transfer on a no-perks flight, book a day ticket for an airport lounge; if your flight is full, noise-masking headphones will help you sleep; and for nervous flyers, there are apps to explain any bumps along the way. Be sure to do any pre-security online in advance.

You can’t magically make flying stress-free, but you can reduce its impact. Then it’s a case of simply (and literally) rising above it all.

9 top tips for flying high 

1. American Airlines, Qantas, KLM and British Airways let you spread payments out, skipping big credit card fees – as do most booking sites that let you use Paypal.

2. Score extra leg room with ExpertFlyer (iOS/Android), which has seat alerts to let you plot late switches to get an entire row to yourself.

3. Upgrade lotteries use blind bids. To win, research helps. ExpertFlyer (above) lets you see how many seats are in play. Then find the cost of the one you want and bid roughly 20 to 40 percent of the difference in cost between that and your seat, depending on supply.

4. LoungeBuddy (iOS) shows the lounges your ticket can access and lets you to book day passes in more than 800 airports.


5. If flying to the US, the free Mobile Passport app (iOS/Android) lets you fill out a declaration electronically, skipping lines at 25 airports.

6. If your flight is cancelled, skip the rush to the counter and call the customer line to re-book the next flight.

7. Bose’s noise-masking sleep buds (£229.95) use white noise to blot out the cabin buzz entirely. Peace at last.

8. Kayak (iOS /Android) has an easy app to measure bag dimensions, plus size limits for a number of big airlines.

9. For peace of mind, SkyGuru (iOS/Android) is a neat app that uses sensors to explain any in-flight bumps and to help predict any turbulence.

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