The possibility has just come up that I might be going to Odessa in about 3 weeks (from Kiev). I have two options for getting there.

Option one – fly. It’s just over an hour away.

Pros: shorter travel time, more convenient arrival time on my way home, can prove to myself how much I win at overcoming my fear.

Cons: dodgy internal Ukrainian flights – my choices are Donbassaero, who in 2010 had a flight cancelled after the entire crew was found to be inebriated. Or Dniproavia who fly Embraer something-or-other planes. They’re tiny and thin and weird looking and I’m scared of them :(, or AeroSvit who my colleague described as ‘fun because they’re all old and bouncy.’ I don’t want to get a teeny plane. I don’t trust them.

Option two – night train. Get the train at around 10pm on Friday night, arrive around 7am Saturday morning.

Pros: It’s not a plane!

Cons: Longer travel time, I never sleep that well on sleeper trains, I’ll feel like a failure for not flying.

 

So, just a few questions.

On the course you (Keith) said that any company that can fly within Europe has to meet very high safety standards (something about the ICAO) and is therefore pretty trustworthy.  Do these companies have to meet the same standards for their domestic flights as their international ones? If a company only flies to former Soviet republics, is it really international? Are any of my assumptions about small planes true? (They’re not as safe, they’re more affected by turbulence, the pilots are less experienced, they’re not as sturdy and more affected by stuff that isn’t an issue on big planes.)

And the big question. What am I going to do?!?!??!!

I was so okay on the international flights. I’m so not okay with this :(

Look at it! It's small, thin, weird and the engines are in the wrong place!

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I always used to feel the same way about propellor planes, I'd always look at them and think "No chance are you getting me on one of those."  And then Aer Lingus decided that the flights to manchester that I take to visit my family were suddenly going to be on propellor planes and nothing else.   It was a bit of a hurdle getting onto one, but I found them actually to be almost nicer than the jet ones.

I also came across a small jet plane that had a jet engine in the tail instead of the wings, which really freaked me out.  It wasn't one I could miss since it was a connecting flight from brisbane, Aus to a smaller town, but again I found that it was just as nice as the A380 I'd just come off of.  

Small planes aren't any worse than big ones, and sometimes they're more relaxing in my opinion.  That being said, I'm not sure I could tell you what to do on the Ukrainian flights problem.  In all fairness, the train ride actually sounds pretty fun to me, but that's more just because I love trains :)   Good luck anyway ♥

How are they nicer? I'm not disbelieving you or anything, I'm just curious. I can't quite shake the feeling that they'd hit a pigeon and disintegrate (okay, that might be a slight exageration, but I don't trust them.)

I do have happy memories of long distance train journeys around Russia. Most of them involve vodka and dried fish (they're hazy memories.) But it's difficult to sleep at first, except for the time a Canadian woman gave me a weird green pill which knocked me out for almost 24 hours.

It's all good.    I think it's more to do with the fact I'm not sat with a few hundred other people.   That and my mind tells me the smaller the plane, the less time the journey will take :3 

I would go by train, but only because I love travelling by train. However, a couple a years ago, I flew with embraer planes (or something similar) between Spain and Sardinia and I'm flying from London to Barcelona this Sun with one of them. They are tiny (that's true), but modern and I haven't heard/read any negative report about them, except that the engines are in the wrong place... ;-) 

The picture of the plane is not weird...just different from the ones that you have flown on.

Go by train.

Don't be so critical of the planes though ...it's an irrelevance that is distorting the picture. This is a question of trusting the airlines or not. You choose not to...that's fine...but don't bring the planes into it because what do you do when British Airways substitutes your regular plane for one that you've been critical of?

Keith

Erm… I’d think BA was in serious trouble or… cry or something? I'm not being critical of the planes... not trying to be personal anyway.

I think I didn’t get my point over very well.

If I weren’t afraid of flying, someone could say, ‘hey, you should go to this thing in Odessa,’ and I’d say ‘woo hoo! I’ll get my ticket. See you at the airport!’

Instead I had a minor freak out, quickly racked up a list of reasons not to fly and spent several days fretting about it.

I can only conclude that I am incapable of properly ‘facing’ this fear, only finding ways to deal with it when I’m forced to fly.

Okay, I want to update that. I was trying to figure things out and I picked up the ground course notes folder thing, which has been sitting on my windowsill for weeks.

The first thing I noticed was that I forgot to send the feedback form thing.

Sorry.

But then I was looking at the 1-10 scales we marked during the course. I marked my realistic aim as between 2 and 3. That’s not perfect (1) but in the last few days I’ve been beating myself up for not being at that perfect no.1.

Then I flicked back and the previous page was the ‘Twisted Thinking’ page (p43) and the first point jumped out at me. ‘All or nothing thinking; it’s either 100% or nothing. Dead or alive.’

I’m so guilty of that! And not just about flying.

I think I need to get a bit of perspective.

Also, it made me think of another question.

When a plane is coming into land, I mean, within a minute or two of landing, and there’s a plane landing ahead of them and another one behind them, are the pilots in contact with each other? Or just ATC?

I was looking at the diagram for the go-around and it made me think…

There are three planes in a row coming into land. Plane one is about to land when they notice something (let’s say a donkey) on the runway. Plane one says, ‘woah, there’s a donkey on the runway. Go around.’ They do their go around thing and climb away. Planes two and three will also need to do a go around. Would they hear plane one announce their intention to go around? Or would ATC have to tell them to start to climb again? Or would they have to wait until they saw the donkey and made their own decision to go around?

(Disclaimer, I’m not really suggesting that (or worried that) a donkey would appear on the runway. I’m just curious.)

I have done a go around because of a sheep, or was it a cow I can't remember... on the runway at Stornaway.

Please send me your answers to your questions and I'll comment on them.

Keith

ps

Planes 2 and 3 will just go ahead and land...why  should they have to do anything different??

This reasoning doesn't seem right.....I could want or not want to go to the cinema...depending upon the film being shown. Not going wouldn't mean that I didn't ever go...

you are most def doing the all or nothing thinking, so the question is.....does it help you?  If it does keep doing it...if it doesn't.....

Airlines  retain the right to change the plane and the airline despite your ticket being issued by a particular airline.

Don't worry about your reactions.it's what you do with them that's important.  You are allowed to be anxious!!!!  Count your successes....you should be kinder to yourself....please.

Sarah said:

Erm… I’d think BA was in serious trouble or… cry or something? I'm not being critical of the planes... not trying to be personal anyway.

I think I didn’t get my point over very well.

If I weren’t afraid of flying, someone could say, ‘hey, you should go to this thing in Odessa,’ and I’d say ‘woo hoo! I’ll get my ticket. See you at the airport!’

Instead I had a minor freak out, quickly racked up a list of reasons not to fly and spent several days fretting about it.

I can only conclude that I am incapable of properly ‘facing’ this fear, only finding ways to deal with it when I’m forced to fly.

Long stream of consciousness coming up!

I have done a go around because of a sheep, or was it a cow I can't remember... on the runway at Stornaway.

Please send me your answers to your questions and I'll comment on them.

Keith

ps

Planes 2 and 3 will just go ahead and land...why  should they have to do anything different??

Okay... well I was thinking of a busy airport where the planes only land a couple of minutes apart from each other. So it could be that there isn't time for anyone to go out and move the donkey before plane 2 gets to the runway (I hear donkeys can be stubborn.) So it would also have to go around.

Unless there was another runway it could land on? But it wouldn't have time to line up with a different runway, would it?

So plane 2 would see plane 1 climbing away and think 'hmmm... wonder why he's doing that.' But surely plane 2 couldn't just be left wondering (nothing's left up to chance, right?) Someone would tell him why plane 1 was going around. So I think... ATC would tell him, because if pilots could hear all the communication between ATC and the planes in front and behind them it would be a lot of noise and they might miss something ATC said to them, or confuse their ears somehow.

But maybe they can hear it all so that as soon as plane 1 announced the donkey on the runway, they'd know about it immediately.

<I know nothing about radio communication!>

Actually, wouldn't people on the ground see the donkey before the pilot in plane 1? And let planes 1, 2 and 3 know about it?

Well somehow they'd know about it in plane 2 but maybe they'd still approach as if they were going to land because the donkey might have run away and they might be able to land.

No, there's too many 'maybes' there. I think they'd follow plane 1 and climb away and wait until someone on the ground confirmed that the donkey was gone.

Am I close?

That's pretty funny that you actually had to do this at one point. Did you tell the passengers the reason for the go around? 'Sorry folks, cow on the runway.' Hehehe...

But for me this is one of the things that makes flying seem more unsafe than other forms of transport - the fact that planes can't stop. Any other type of transport, if an obstruction pops up they stop and wait. Planes can't do that. Kind of like driving a car with no brakes.

Sarah

It's nothing like this, in any way shape or form. The plane ahead does not affect the plane behind. We are all doing the same thing...taking turns to land...just because the one ahead doesn't land it doesn't stop the one behind from landing. There are fixed routes so we don't get in each others way.

We land only when the conditions and circumstances are  safe. 

I don't think chsasoing this subject to a conclusion is going to help. Take my word it's nowhere near as chaotic and variable as you imagine.

Keith

Okay. It was just idle wondering.

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