Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fear of Flying

Poor, poor Charly is very nervous about her first time on an airplane. And it's her honeymoon....you should not worry about air travel on your honeymoon! Although, to be honest Charly, holidays are a frustrating time to travel. I promise you'll have more trouble with the airports on the ground than the plane in the sky!

I started to leave Charly a comment with some suggestions and it got long. So I figured I would just post for all your enjoyment! I've been on more than 50 airplanes in 2007 (I was on 12 in a matter of four days a few months ago!), and I still don't like to fly.

However, I'm not having panic attacks or freaking out like I used to. Sometimes, I don't even really notice we're taking off anymore! As you fly more and more you start to get used to it.

Top 10 things I do and think to calm myself down:

1. Look for babies and small children on the plane. Some see this as an annoyance (crying and kicking). Not me...the more babies the better. Why? Because God wouldn't let a plane crash with a bunch of babies on it! (hey--it works for me).

2. I bring a book that I'm really involved in or excited to start reading. I start reading in the terminal and read right on through take-off. This may not work for you since it's your first flight, but it helps later.

3. If you experience turbulence, look around at the other people on the plane. If they're still sleeping or don't look up from their book, or don't seem phased...you're OK. Gage the feelings of your neighbors. It ALWAYS calms me down.

4. I've been on several flights where I was convinced I was about to crash to a fiery death. And it never happened. You have a better chance of being murdered than dying in a plane crash. Trust me...that thought helps.

5. The flight locations always determine my level of fear of terrorism. If you were flying from LA to NYC or vice versa, be worried. Otherwise....it should be ok. Really, who is going to terrorize Wichita?

6. Sit on the aisle. Some people think the window seat is best but it's not. If you are in a water crash or your plane catches fire on the tarmac, you have a faster chance of getting out the emergency exits if you sit on the aisle and don't have to climb over others. However, sitting on the aisle does increase your chances of a hijacker taking you hostage or killing you as an example. But for the greatest chance of survival....aisle is best.

7. Speaking of emergency exits, don't sit there. Yeah, extra leg room...great. But if you're in an emergency--it means you're the last one out! Your best bet is to sit behind the exit seats for the fastest way out.

8. Try to fly in mid-morning. Still avoid a lot of the delay problems, and at the same time your plane has already had it's first flight for the day. You cut down on mechanical problems if it's already flown. It didn't blow up on the way to you, did it? Chances are it won't blow up on the way to your destination.

9. If you've made it to cruising altitude, you're likely ok. If your plane is going to blow up it will blow up in the beginning. So, let your nerves go away after about 10 minutes in the air.

10. If all else fails--take a benadryl. You may be spent for the better part of the day, but you'll sleep right through takeoff if you take about 20-3o minutes before takeoff!!

Remember--this is my crazy, maniacal mind. It is not based in science or any sort of logic. I also say a prayer every time before takeoff that goes a little something like this:

"God, please be with the pilots of this plane and the air traffic controllers that guide us to safety. Please be with the flight attendants that keep us calm. Please be with the maintenance men who work on the plane and be with the plane itself. Please allow us to arrive safely at our destination, and if not please forgive me of my sins and take me to live with you. In Jesus Name, Amen."

Every time. And that silly little prayer gives me a lot of peace, believe it or not!

Charly--you'll be fine!!! Have an amazing honeymoon, don't let the flight fear get in the way of enjoying my favorite city in the world. Hopefully you'll leave a true Manhattanite at heart!


Cary said...

Lloyd: What's the matter? Little tense about the flight?

Mary: Something like that.

Lloyd: There's really nothing to worry about Mary. Statistically, they say you're more likely to get killed on the way to the airport. You know, like on a head on crash or flying off a cliff or getting trapped under a gas truck! That's the worst! I have this cousin, well y'know, I had this cousin...

Mary: Uh, Lloyd, could you keep your eyes on the road please?

Lloyd: Oh, yeah! Good thinking. You can't be too careful. There are a lot of bad drivers out there.

Jessica said...

Samsonite! I knew it started with an S!!

Charly said...

Thank you so much for your post. I was reading it to everyone at work. You gave me a lot of good advice. I love the one about the babies. I'll post plenty of pics when I return. THANKS!