[Like Craig Mod's post, but with a shade more neurosis.]
Routine is the key. Choose a decent airline, and downright insist on it. One of those Sir-and-Madam fading-glamour national ones tends to offer optimal predictability.
Collect frequent flyer points immediately: you might get the rare upgrade, but more importantly you'll probably get to choose your preferred seat (see below).
Fly business or premium if you can, of course. Check your flight a couple of weeks beforehand; if they offer you an affordable upgrade, grab it. Relief is valuable.
Get a bit drunk, if that’s your thing. It’s childish and unhealthy, but it does help. Just enough that you’d consider singing karaoke with good friends. Your fading-glamour airline should be good to dole out a couple of gins and tonic. Same drink every time, ideally: routine, you see.
Noise-cancelling headphones, drone/ambient music. No drums or vocals.
Craig is right: get to the airport embarrassingly early. But on top of that, check in everything you can. Minimal hand luggage. No see-through-bag hassles, no jostling for locker space.
Ignore the monitor telling you it's -70°C outside. Why the hell do they even do that?
Don’t kid yourself that a window seat will desensitise you. Pick an aisle seat close to the front (less fuselage flex) and look ahead.
Friends who wish you a safe flight don’t realise they just reminded you that flying might not be safe, something might go wrong and you’ll just be falling and falling and falling. Forgive them.
Trust in science and training and rationality. Like, there are people who are on these things all the time and they’re still alive and happy so, y’know: probability theory. The BA Airbus 319 has a bulkhead pattern of tiny notches if you want to visualise what 1 in 100,000 looks like.
The plane wants to be in the air, and it wants to be stable. It’s the natural equilibrium state: swimming in the air. Flying is only scary because the air is transparent. Imagine the air were blue. An ocean of buoyancy. Peace and happiness. Turbulence is just like a truck bouncing on a road. Little pockets of squelchiness, that’s all.
Text your wife (etc) as you board and once you land. Tell her you love her. Use emoji.
oh fuck what the fuck was that oh okay it’s just the drinks trolley
If you can sleep, then for goodness sake sleep, you detestable bastard.