Fear of flying? We’re here to help – 10 tips for a calmer flight

If you’re anxious about flying, you’re not alone - read on for expert advice for an easier flying experience

Going on holiday is one of the highlights of the year for lots of us. But if the thought of flying through the sky at 30,000ft fills you with fear, it’s going to take the shine off that holiday feeling…

If this is you – you’re not alone. The charity Anxiety UK estimates that around 10% of the UK population suffers from aviophobia, but this fear of flying definitely doesn’t mean you just have to simply suffer or miss out on holidays abroad. There are steps you can take to make your journey feel easier, from initial flight booking to travelling through the airport, to the time you spend in the air.

Our travel experts share 10 top tips to help you have a calmer flying experience next time you fly from Manchester Airport.

1. Book a direct flight

A direct flight to your destination (rather than needing to make a transfer) will reduce the amount of time you spend in the air. You’ll also only have to go through one take-off and one landing – the parts of flying that often cause the most anxiety.

Direct flights aren’t necessarily more expensive, either. Manchester Airport offers direct flights to 200+ destinations, and with multiple airlines competing for your business, you’ll always find great deals if you shop around.

2. Choose the right seat for you

When you’re already a nervous flyer, feeling ‘boxed-in’ can increase anxiety. So it might be worth paying a bit extra for a seat that gives you more room.

An aisle seat on an emergency exit row, around the middle of the plane, typically gives you the most space. But any aisle seat will make it easier to get up, stretch your legs, or go to the bathroom.

Or you may prefer to sit by the window - it's all about whatever makes you feel most at ease.

3. Plan your journey to the airport

Feeling in control of your journey to the airport can help you feel calmer, which also means you’re boarding the plane in a less anxious state of mind.

However you’re getting to Manchester Airport (public transport, driving and parking, or getting dropped off), plan your trip in advance so you know exactly how it will go on the day.

We have lots of information on ways to get to Manchester Airport, and keep an eye on public transport updates on our social media channels.

4. Give yourself plenty of time

Rushing will only add to any anxiety you’re already feeling, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and through Security.

Most airlines recommend you arrive at least two hours before your departure time for a short-haul flight, but give yourself extra time if you can.

And have a Plan B as well – you probably won’t need it, but it will help you feel in control even if there are any cancellations or delays and you need to change plans at the last minute.

5. Find a quiet place to escape the crowds

We know ‘forgetting about flying’ is easier said than done – but remember, there are lots of places at the airport designed to help you do just that!

Airport lounges are often thought of as a pricey luxury, but they’re just as popular as a place to enjoy some calm and quiet away from the main crowds.

Our Escape and 1903 lounges have great deals, and, or if you’re travelling from T3, the designated quiet zone on the upper mezzanine level of the departure lounge is a great place to relax.

6. Security rules

If the idea of going through Security makes you feel a bit nervous, read up on the hand luggage rules in advance, so you know what to expect.

If you haven’t done this, don’t worry – Security might sound scary, but our friendly Manchester Airport Security staff are used to nervous flyers, and will be more than happy to help you on the day!

If you want to speed up the Security experience you can always snap up a FastTrack ticket, giving you access to the Express Lane so you can skip the big queues.

7. Avoid caffeine and alcohol at the airport

It might be tempting to have a drink before you fly to ‘take the edge off your nerves’, or drink a lot of coffee while you’re killing time in the departure lounge...

But in reality, caffeine and alcohol can increase feelings of anxiety. So sticking to soft drinks might be your best bet if you’re already feeling nervous.

8. Make use of the airport’s chaplaincy service

Whether you follow any religion or not, the airport’s chaplaincy service is on hand to offer prayers, a listening ear, friendly advice, and practical support.

The Prayer Room is located in in Terminal 1 at ground level check-in, and is open 24 hours a day, providing a quiet space for prayer, meditation, or just sitting and thinking. You can speak to our chaplains in person when you see them around the airport, or ask the Information Desk to page the chaplain on duty.

9. Let cabin crew know about your fear of flying

You don’t have to battle your nerves alone. If you let your cabin crew know you’re a nervous flyer, they’ll support you during the flight by checking in on you periodically, making sure you’re comfortable, and answering any questions you might have.

Observing how relaxed the cabin crew are as they go about their jobs might help you feel a little calmer, too – they do this every day, after all!

10. Deep breathing, meditation, soothing music – it's all personal

Managing anxiety is an extremely personal thing, so explore and use techniques that help you feel calmer in nerve-wracking situations.

Lots of people find doing breathing exercises can help them feel more physically relaxed. Or listening to soothing music or a guided meditation can help them feel calmer in stressful situations – so download something for the flight before you go.

Seek professional advice

Of course, if you think you may have an undiagnosed fear of flying, we recommend you seek professional advice from your GP or a qualified therapist prior to travelling.

Useful links

Pre-book FastTrack


Save time and use the Express Lane at Security and Passport Control

Airport parking

Accessible parking, close to the terminal

Escape Lounge

Travel in style and relax at our exclusive airport lounge

Pre-book FastTrack

Getting to the airport

Taxi, car, train or coach - travel information and directions for an easy journey to Manchester Airport

Copenhagen harbour


Relax in sophisticated surroundings, with an elegant food menu, hand-picked wines and chic cocktails

Make 2024 your best travel year yet

Turn your travel dreams into a reality, with top travel tips and unmissable discounts