Others suffer from claustrophobia and struggle with being in a confined place for a set amount of time. Occasionally, we have somebody who can sit on a major flight between cities without batting an eyelid—but has a specific fear of small planes. These fears and anxieties are not uncommon, so we’ve put together some tips for nervous flyers to help you cope if you’re feeling a little on edge. We want you to enjoy yourself on your South Island flight as much as possible! These tips are based on practical experience and what we’ve seen help over the years.
Our #1 tip for nervous flyers: Practice deep breathing
Taking deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth has been proven to decrease stress, lower your heart rate and regulate your blood pressure by letting sufficient oxygen circulate around the body. Start this before you climb aboard and continue throughout take-off and before you know it, you’ll be so blown away by the incredible views from your Mount Cook or Milford Sound flight that you’ve forgotten all about the nerves
The art of distraction
One of our top tips: bring a friend! The less you focus on your anxious feelings, the more comfortable you’ll be. Having a friend with you or being art of a group can ease the nerves by giving you a sense of familiarity and the simple yet effective distraction of easy conversation.
Learn about our planes
Sometimes, arming yourself with as much knowledge as possible is the best way to overcome nerves and anxiety. It can be alarming when we consider worst-case scenarios or experience rough and unexpected turbulence – but it’s important to understand that the chances of an accident occurring are really very low. We recommend reading up on the planes in our fleet, checking out their safety records and also learning about the physics of what causes turbulence and how planes are specifically built to withstand it.
Heed our safety briefing
We take safety very seriously and give all passengers a full safety briefing before take-off. Listening to the briefing, asking questions and ensuring you have a good grasp on what actions to take in the extremely unlikely event of an emergency can relieve unease by giving a sense of confidence and preparedness.
Try relaxation remedies
We all have our own remedies that can help us relax. For some, it might be a scent – something like lavender or peppermint. Others find rescue remedy works wonders. There are also prescription medications that can help ward off panic attacks – but these come with their own risks and should be considered carefully. If you’re not sure where to start, try talking to your doctor. They might be able to give you some suggestions, recommendations and even refer you to a psychologist who can arm you with the tools to overcome your fear once and for all.
Caffeine is one substance that really heightens your senses. So if you’re already at risk of feeling nervous, a cup of coffee or a can of coke before boarding is probably not the way to go. These substances will elevate your heart rate and cause dehydration – and both of these things can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety. Stick with water and a light meal instead.
Focus on the view
This one also loops back to the art of distraction; it’s all about focusing on anything other than your nerves. Look out the window and think about what you can see. What landmarks are there? Can you make sense of where you are? What colours are among the landscape? What is one thing that you can see from the window of your scenic flight that you’ve never seen before? Having some specific questions to focus on is a great strategy to make sure
Check out our experience
We’re lucky enough to have some of the best pilots around operating our scenic flights. Our CEO Peter Daniell has over 12 years of experience in the Fiordland area and our other pilots teeming with local knowledge and eager to share their love for this beautiful country. Not only that, but they understand the unique and often-complex weather in the region like nobody else. If the weather is unsafe for flying, we won’t fly. You’re in good hands with True South and we can’t wait to welcome you on board!