For Immediate Release
Contact: Tom Murphy
360 738 3190
Three Tips from Aviation Employees
To Help Air Travelers Overcome Anxiety in the Air
Will you be carrying anxieties onto your flight with your favorite recipe this holiday travel season?
An AOL poll says people feel anxious in the air. Now Reclaiming the Sky, a non-profit designed to help aviation workers manage their own anxieties in the air, has developed tips to help passengers become "ACTive Travelers" and take control by "doing what the pros do."
Aviation workers went back up in the air immediately after 9/11 to keep the country flying. Each day they respond to that call-to-duty despite new threats. In an AOL poll taken on October 28, the day a college student developed a way for anyone to create a boarding base, fifty-five percent of travelers said they feel "somewhat unsafe" flying. Yet aviation workers don't have the luxury of walking back out the airport door. They put on their uniforms and go to work - and as such that gives them an ability to share what they've learned about coping with pressure to help the millions of travelers who will take to the skies this coming holiday season deal with stress too.
Tom Murphy, Seattle-based author of the recently released book, Reclaiming the Sky: 9/11 and the Untold Story of the Men and Women Who Kept America Flying, all profits from which will go to aviation charities, surveyed his aviation colleagues to develop the "ACTive Traveler Program."
What is an ACTive Traveler?
Here are the three approaches to stress management the pros use themselves:
- 1. A - Be aware. Before you get to the airport know what you can and cannot bring on board. As one flight attendant said, "I've seen too many people lose their expensive bottles of wine at the screening station because they failed to educate themselves in advance that you cannot bring bottles in your carry on." The same goes for people who have had to hand over jars of strawberry jam they labored hard to make, or bottled water they paid good money for. Know the regulations before you leave home. Be aware. It will save you time, aggravation and money.
- 2. C - Take Control. There are things you can control and things you can't. As one flight attendant says, "Know the difference." It makes no sense to get anxious over the weather. You can't control it. If you are going to be delayed because of a snow storm, there is nothing you can do about that. So you might as well stay calm. The same goes for wondering if your plane will be hijacked. You can't control that. But (and this goes back to step one, "be aware," something you CAN control,) remain alert. If you see something suspicious, say something. Other than that, sit back and relax. Statistics show that air travel is the safest form of mass transit. Focus your mind on the facts. We live in a world where beauty and brutality compete. Be mindful of the brutality, but don't let it overtake your life such that you miss the beauty - along with the happy anticipation of seeing family and friends this holiday.
- 3. T - Talk. This is probably the most important tip because this goes to "connection-making," which research tells us is a source of human happiness. If you are anxious or nervous, TALK about it. Don't keep your feelings to yourself. One flight attendant said she learned this lesson from a plumber who told her, "A drain that is a little stopped up will only get more stopped up if you allow it - then it will overflow." The same goes for our emotions. If we "stop them up," they will back up until one day they'll find an outlet in a negative way. So if you feel anxious, talk about it. You'll be surprised how quickly the anxiety will dissipate. A final tip, one that springs from this point about "connection-making;" engage a flight attendant, who have been trained for your safety as well as comfort. They have been trained as your "first responders in the air." You should know that the majority have taken a one-third cut in pay since 9/11 to keep the airlines flying - so they love what they do. Make an effort to "connect:" as you pass a flight attendant in the doorway of your plane upon boarding this holiday season, take control of the moment - TALK to him or her. You might even say "thank you." In surveys the aviation workers we polled say would like that, and the "connection" you make might even help you quell anxieties.
Have a nice flight, and enjoy that drumstick!
NOTE: Flight Attendants from WINGS and CAUSE, the charities that support American and United Airlines respectively, have been leaders in supporting "reclaimingthesky.com," the effort by Tom Murphy, author of the book, Reclaiming the Sky: 9/11 and the Untold Story of the Men and Women Who Kept America Flying, to create an online community for aviation workers post 9/11. The Forum on the site gives aviation workers an opportunity to share emotions, and relieve their own anxieties. Importantly, that forum on reclaimingthesky.com provided key information for the "ACTive Traveler" program to support the traveling public.