Dealing with Fear of Flying
I’m not entirely sure when my whole fear of flying began. In fact, that is the last time I will use the ‘F’ word, as through my journey with flying, it is not a fear (dammit), it is a irrational state of mind, but one that affects so many.
In my youth I went on holidays usually by boat. It wasn’t until we moved to Saudi Arabia, I had my first real (and long haul) experience I can remember on a plane.
One specific memory comes to mind when there was turbulence. A new experience at the time, it did unsettle me as my Mother reminded me. Which in my process of dealing with this, didn’t actually help.
My F, stopped me from attending the wedding. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.
A f of flying course and a short trip to Scotland with folks was a good remedy to help me through it at the time. It wasn’t until some years later that my friends wedding required me to not only fly on my own but get on a small propeller aeroplane. My F, stopped me from attending the wedding. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.
It was time I sucker punched this thing once and for all.
With the business I work with, trips were becoming more regular and the opportunity finally came to go with the CEO to London. Initially, with his full support, he said I could get their by bus and boat. I declined. It was time I sucker punched this thing once and for all.
What has really pushed me to beat this as much as possible, is to fly as much as possible. It’s as simple as that.
In the last year I have flown around the world: From Dublin to Stockholm, to San Diego, to Venice, to Glasgow, to New York, to San Francisco, to Birmingham, to Chicago, to Liverpool. In every type of plane: large ones, medium ones, small ones. In all weathers: clear blue sky’s, thunderstorms in the distances, strong winds, snow. In all seats: window, middle, aisle, back of the plane, front of the plane.
I won’t lie. There were times I was nervous. I was unsettled. I didn’t give up. You can’t give up.
I’m writing this as I sit currently on a flight from Prague. Even recently as a few days ago I was on a flight back home from Leeds when during takeoff it was quite blustery and being on a small plane doesn’t help your comfort. I did have a relapse. And that’s okay. No one ever said this would be a quick fix.
Another remedy, if you cannot fly regularly is to learn everything there is about planes. I will link the book I bought and it definitely eased any fears. All those noises, all the safety features, all the restrictions are in this book. Every question you could ask, it’s in there. If you own a car, you know some things about it: the type of fuel, some of the warning lights, how to drive, you can see where you’re going. You trust it will get you where you want to go safely.
We don’t stand outside the plane and kick the tires to make sure it’s okay. (Please don’t try that). You are stepping into a transportation vehicle that is not a regular environment, you hear new noises and sounds and a safety demonstration followed by someone offering you refreshments. Of course you are going to feel a little strange.
Here is a brief reason of why you maybe feel uncomfortable during turbulence: When we can’t see where we are going, our body reacts to movements so much more heavily. In reality, you are moving as little as you are on a bumpy road. No more, no less.
Turbulance is uncomfortable. It is not dangerous. Repeat that.
I have left this part to the end, as I didn’t want to throw people off reading this or misinterpreting what I’ve done to get to a good position with flying. One of the key parts to all this, was prayer. It was prayer to God to help me through this. I laid my fear out to Him and to let Him know of my worries. I’m no saying I’d happy jump out of a plane tomorrow. But it is good to know, that He knows, how I feel.
You can get on that plane. You can deal with the noises. You can deal with turbulence. You can deal with not being in control. Get out there and see the world. It’s an incredible place.