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FLYING THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES

Air travel is an incubator for anxiety. Expect the worst and hope for the best, psychologist Elizabeth Carll suggests to air travelers who may experience "air rage."

Passengers abandon control over their lives when they enter the airport, says Ms. Carll, a national expert in stress and anxiety. Crowded planes, being separated from friends and family, and disrupted sleep cycles may push some passengers over the brink.

With passengers physically and verbally abusing airline desk clerks and flight attendants -- reflecting a growing lack of civility in society -- travelers are still responsible for their behavior, she says.

To ease the anxiety of long waits, surly service and rubbery food, she suggests travelers bring favorite music to listen to, a good book, a pocket video game for the kids or other pleasant distractions. "Lower your expectations. Expect delays. And try to have a sense of humor," she adds.

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