I didn’t always fear flying. When I was a child I thought it was quite a fun joy ride with free snacks and a view. Perhaps too many action adventure movies and repetitive news reports have jumbled my nerves and ordinarily optimistic attitude.
But then there was that one time I got caught in bad turbulence on a flight home. There was a thunderstorm at our connecting airport and lightning flashed on both sides of the plane. Anything that wasn’t buckled-in our tied down was tossed around like popcorn. I held on tight and bit my bottom lip. It’s the first time I actually felt fear while I was in the air. I even teared up a little. I had been away from home for about 12 days, and all I wanted — all I could think about — was my husband’s warm comforting hug. But the way this flight was going I thought I’d never see him again. The other passengers around me were more brave, so I blotted my tears on my sleeve. We ended up landing at a military airport to wait out the storm and after an overnight at a hotel airport, I eventually made it home. The kindness of strangers got me through it.
So, how do I ever get back on a plane again after an experience like that? The type of jostling that makes a person sincerely want to get on their hands and knees and kiss the ground after landing? I did what anyone worried about a flight would do.
While laying awake in bed, I picked my iPhone up off the nightstand and began playing Google like a slot machine to see what facts and articles would come up to either A) confirm my fear and make me a over-land-only traveler, or B) Prove to me that my fears are unfounded and allow me to finally rest and go to sleep.
Thankfully, “B” was the winning answer. Here are some sources that I found to help overcome a fear of flying.
Everything You Need To Know About Turbulence from Patrick Smith …
Conditions might be annoying and uncomfortable, but the plane is not going to crash. Turbulence is an aggravating nuisance for everybody, including the crew, but it’s also, for lack of a better term, normal … the pilots aren’t worried about the wings falling off; they’re trying to keep their customers relaxed and everybody’s coffee where it belongs.
Turns out, not only is turbulence normal, it’s expected. And the wings aren’t going to fall off! Joy! His whole website, AskThePilot.com, is a wealth of information about planes, flights, and everything you were ever curious about or just wanted to know for peace of mind. He even has answers to what those strange noises are below your feet in a plane as well as some credible insight on the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
For now, I’ve just bookmarked Patrick’s website to go back to and read when ever I start having a total fear of flying freak out. But I did also find a program called SOAR, oddly enough at FearOfFlying.com. Here they answer many of the same questions AskThePilot.com does and they offer a dvd counseling program for severe cases of the fear of flying.
Overall, the odds are definitely in favor of flying.
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I sometimes wonder what ever happened to the glamor of flying and imagine what it must have been like in the early days of Pan Am. The universe must have heard my mental questioning and decided to teach me a lesson. (Read more … )