Crowds of people waiting at the airline check in counters at Phuket airport.
A Psychologist Shares Their Tips For Dealing With Airport Anxiety
The airport can be stressful, so we spoke to clinical psychologist Dr. Janina Scarlet about what we can do to help ourselves get through a trip to the airport.
Getting to the airport with enough time to acclimate is the best place to start. "The less we are rushing, the less pressured we may feel," Dr. Scarlet says.
Where To Start
Many people fear forgetting something important, so Dr. Scarlet suggests printing out a packing list a day or two before so you can check things off.
Crowds can be a big stressor at the airport. Dr. Scarlet says that getting out of the crowd and having something comforting, like noise-canceling headphones, can help.
If you deal with body anxiety, Dr. Scarlet says that you can request having the pat down done in a private room with someone of the same gender identity.
Let the agent know if you have any pain or body trauma, and wearing a sunflower lanyard can signal to airport staff that you might have an invisible disability.
When bringing a child on a flight, Dr. Scarlet suggests "letting them know exactly what's coming next and what to expect" and turning the process into a game.
Flying with a baby for the first time can produce anxiety. Dr. Scarlet says to let the flight attendants know that this is new for you so they can check in more frequently.
When flying for a difficult reason like a funeral, Dr. Scarlet said, "Letting the flight attendant know can be very helpful [...] they might be able to check on you."
Erratic passengers are a concern many people have, but remember that flight attendants are trained to deal with this. You may also find comfort in knowing where the exits are.
Avoid overstimulated areas. For extra comfort, Dr. Scarlet says, "Some airports do now offer emotional support animals [... and] quiet rooms or meditation rooms."