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We haven't flown for the last few years, so I've sort of let my guard down a bit. We're flying to Orlando in July and - though I've not really given the fear of flying a lot of thought until now - over the last couple of weeks I've found myself starting to focus a little more on the thought of flying. Though I don't feel too worried at the moment, I'm scared the break will have made things worse because I haven't put myself into a situation where I've had to to fly. And now we've sailed on a cruise from Southampton, I'm starting to find myself looking ahead to next year and focusing only on cruises direct from the UK to avoid the flight. I don't want this to be me. Has anyone out there got any encouraging stories/advice about returning to flying after a break? Thanks
You've taken the first step (if I understand you correctly) by booking the flight. Step two is have a plan. Bring a book/s, corsswords, Mp3/Ipod etc etc. and plan beforehand how you'll spend the time aboard the plane. Break it up into sections - i.e. read for so long, listen to music for a certain time etc. For my own part, I always enjoy observing the cabin crew as they go about their duties serving meals, drinks, snacks etc. If there's a meal served en-route it helps to break the monotony. Just watching the cabin crew do their thing in a calm confident way is something I find very reassuring. A little bit of "people watching" during this section of the flight will help take your mind off things. I get the sense of it being like in a restaurant or bar and it feels pretty much like that to me. Although the seating arrangements are a little different, the essentials are the same. The point is it makes the whole experience feel quite normal.
Also, check out all the material available (including videos etc.) via the site and you can bring much of this on your Ipod/Mp3 to listen to while on-board. Every little helps. Having a plan for the flight is very useful - you may not follow it precisely but at least have it and try to follow it as best you can. Relaxation and breathing exercises are also very helpful so check those out on the site well in advance of your travel time so you are familiar with them. Prepare as well as you can. Don't hesitate to let a member of the cabin crew know of your fear of flying - that is also a good thing (a problem shared is a problem halved). They're very good in dealing with fearful flyers and will check in on you from time to time during the flight - again its comforting and reassuring. The cabin crews don't make a song and dance about an individual passenger's concerns or fears in front of other passengers so don't feel afraid or embarrassed to ask for their help. Doing this at boarding time is probably best but you can ask at any stage of the flight. Its amazing how many people share a fear or concern about flying or know someone close to them who has such concerns/fears. You should not be surprised if you get talking to a like-minded person next to you. The next thing is you end up chatting away like mad and time goes by quite quickly then.
Then go to the airport on the day and board the aircraft. You'll find that things will take care of themselves. I find that taking a slow walk through the aisle/s (depends to some extent on the type of plane) at certain intervals also helps - its the psychology of "having something to do" and all of this should come into your plan. As the flight progresses you'll find that you relax more and more into the whole thing. Next thing you know - you're at your destination and looking forward to a great time in Orlando.
Hope this is of some help. Best wishes and have a great time in Orlando. Frank Edwards (Ireland).