Yes, I am afraid of flying.

This post is mainly supposed to be therapeutic, and may thus not be properly organized. I am flying to New Zealand tomorrow (23 hours) and this is me trying to cope with my fear. Let me know in the comments below if you too are afraid of flying, and what helps you.

I have been afraid of flying since I can remember. When booking my trip, I am usually looking forward to it, but about three days before I have to leave, I start to get nervous. I can’t sleep properly; all I can think about is the flight.
I stay up late to look up my airline, the type of plane, the airports, and – of course – how safe flying actually is. Googling that stuff is never a good idea. Most of the articles tell me how safe airplanes and airports are, how safe the technology is, how trained the pilots and crew are, and that there are millions of planes landing safely every single day. But then, there is always that one article that features a video of some airplane crash, or pictures of a destroyed plane that went up in flames – and obviously, all I can think about is that one negative article.
I think that I do trust the technology, and most of the time I also trust the pilot and the crew. But what I am most afraid of is that the plane that I am in will be attacked by terrorists.
Even before boarding, I scan every single person (mostly men who are traveling on their own and aren’t wearing a suit), and try to detect a hint of terrorism. I know that this is absolutely ridiculous, but I just can’t help myself.
In August, I flew to Bangkok from Germany – and there was this man who went to the bathroom at least three times within 30 minutes. I almost stared at him and followed his every move, because I was absolutely convinced that he was going to detonate a bomb in the bathroom. Obviously, we landed safely in Thailand – without the plane exploding. The guy was maybe just as nervous as I was, and that’s why he had to use the bathroom a lot.

My problem is my mind. As soon as I enter the plane I think of all the ways this could go wrong – we could crash when starting, the plane could break in half, there could be a terror attack, we could be shot from the sky, and so on. And then, I convince myself that exactly that is going to happen and that I am going to die. I don’t just convince myself that I am going to die, but I know it. I start sweating real bad, I can’t breathe properly anymore, and my whole body fights against me being up in the air. There is almost a “run-away impulse”, but that already starts the moment I enter the plane.

My cousin started working as a flight-attendant and to be honest, that really started to make me feel a little better. I know how much she flies, and nothing ever happened. But I also know that the airline she is flying with is a German airline – and if I have to fly with a different one, my fear starts all over.

The airline I will fly with is Emirates – one of the safest airlines in the world. They have never had any fatalities – and a normal person should feel better when reading this. But what I thought when I read that, is: “well, there has to be a first time”. And naturally, I am convinced that my plane is the one that will be the first to crash.

“Well, then why do you still fly?” – a question I had to answer more than once. And the answer is easy: “Because you can’t avoid it”. Truth be told, you can avoid it. You can either just never step on a plane and always travel by car, or you can travel by ship – which of course needs a lot more planning, more time, and is also more expensive. I know that the possibility of something happening to my plane is so, so tiny, but honestly, that doesn’t help me. At all.

Once I am in the plane, and we managed to take off, I can relax a little. I know that there is still the “danger of terrorism”, but I also know that most likely, nothing will happen. But, believe it or not, I also think that if there would a bomb on the plane, every damn second could be my last. And believe me, that is scary as hell.
Usually, it helps me to focus on the entertainment program – just watch movies for 14 hours straight. I don’t know how flying for that long on my own will be like, but I told myself that if my fear gets extremely bad, I will talk to a flight-attendant and tell them about my worries.
But just focusing on a crew member can help, too – they are flying some place every single day, and are now probably looking forward to their few days of layover in a new country.

Days before leaving for my trip and all I can think about is the flight, I think about canceling my vacation every single time. I know how much money I spent on it, and how much I was looking forward to it a few weeks back, but in these moments, I would sleep on the streets for days if I just wouldn’t have to get on the plane – I know this sounds absolutely insane, but I mean it.

 

If you’re not afraid of flying, I probably sound crazy to you. But maybe, there are a few of you out there who know exactly how I feel. Please let me know in the comments how you cope with your aviophobia, or why you’re not afraid – I can use all the tips.

15 thoughts on “Yes, I am afraid of flying.

  1. Your not crazy at all. I am absolutely 100% certain that I am going to die on an airplane every time I board one. I always think that I’ll be part of that rare statistic that doesn’t make it to their destination safely. I’m concerned with terrorism, mechanical failure, pilot error, etc. You name it, I freak out about it. I downloaded the SOAR app…which helps a little. And I pack a million mini liquor bottles…and I drink. A lot. That being said…I have every bit of confidence that you will land safely and have the time of your life ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Sami. We regularly have people on our trips afraid of flying. We’ve found the best solution seems to be sleeping on the plane – even if it means melatonin pills to make it happen!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Recommendation: Go to your Doctor or Pharmacist (or whomever you can get prescriptions from depending on what country you live in) and get some Diazapam (Valium) or Lorazapam (Ativan). Based on your health and any other drugs you might take, ask which of the two are best for you. Take 1 pill (5 mg if you get Valium; not sure dosage for Ativan) the night before, 1 pill the morning of, and 1 pill right before takeoff. You will be carefree and relaxed for the flight. If you do this approach, you can not drive yourself to the airport and you should only have minimal alcohol on the flight. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow thanks for sharing! I am not afraid of flying but I am claustrophobic so being stuck in a plane for such a long time gives me a lot of anxiety. I always try to walk around the plane and stay standing for long periods of time, sometimes whole hours without returning to my seat. That helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are not alone. In the past, I also felt fear whenever I flew…I have always walked into every airplane knowing that yes, there is a possibility that something could happen during the flight but, as I am Christian, I give that fear up to God by saying a quick prayer for every flight I have taken. I pray for a safe and smooth take-off, a quick and safe flight, and a safe and smooth landing at my destination…I also pray that God be with the pilots as they make decisions that affect the flight and I pray that God uplift the plane with strong and protective hands throughout our journey, picturing it all in my mind as I pray it. I say this prayer silently always right before take off and once I arrive at my destination I say a quick prayer of thanks. It is now a habit of mine that brings me comfort and helps calm me at every flight…so much so, that I am no longer so worried any more. I also wear a cross that helps me feel connected to God, and whenever we hit a patch of turbulence, I simply touch my cross and it helps calm me. Anyway, this is just what helps me. If you are not religious, perhaps simply imagining a safe take-off, flight and landing might help…as well as carrying some small token that brings you comfort every time you travel might help? Anyway, good luck and safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I.ab.so.lute.ly hate flying, I don’t know if that translates to a fear, but the only thing I can think about when I board a plane is WHAT IF IT CRASHES… for that reason I can never sleep on a flight… I am even afraid to walk to the bathroom… It’s that bad… so you aren’t crazy. Recently my son had to travel and when the day came it was badly over cast, there was thunder and lightening and lots of rain… I was sooooo tempted to change his flight… but he was not bothered in the least… I was afraid for both of us and I wasn’t the one that was travelling… hmph….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Every time I get on a plane I think I’ll crash. Even though, I know it is the safest way to travel and I’ve been on more than hundred flights. But this fear is always there.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Youre not crazy but you are right….its all in your mind. Best way to conquer your fear is to face it as much as you can. So go flying at any chance.
    You will find over time you will relax and might even enjoy it.
    Have a great time in NZ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry to hear of your fear. I don’t fear airplanes but dislike the air pressure change which tends to block my ears during ascent/descent. Does this contribute to your fear? I would recommend the headphone approach playing quiet music which tends to block out the negative obsession on flying.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I understand that when u wrote this article – and this sentence, for instance, “I scan every single person (mostly men who are traveling on their own and aren’t wearing a suit), and try to detect a hint of terrorism”- you didn’t mean it to be funny, but somehow, though u have my sympathy, I laughed. I also fear travelling by airplane but I think about the people who would be so very happy to see me, and this helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It is certainly not an unfounded fear and I share some anxiety as well, but like yourself, it won’t stop me. I often listen to some tunes on my soundproof headphones and calm down. To be honest I had more scary experiences on local buses in the Himalayas, on country roads in Vietnam and India, and even on Sydney ferries on a stormy day haha. I guess in flight we feel vulnerable, powerless, but overall it is very very safe and security is high – enjoy your flight, it is a great way to get some work done, practice meditation and listen to music etc without distraction of phones and daily life 🙂

    Like

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