Going to Newark April 2008 from Belfast and totally terrified

I'm going to book a flight in the next few weeks to Newark from Belfast and i'm really scared, whenever i think about it i just panic and my heart goes crazy! Ive flew quite afew times in the past but i havent been on a flight for any longer than an hour ( even that was one big ordeal ) since i was a teenager ( when i actually loved flying, went to canada,florida,cairo etc ) Its just keeping me awake with worry and wondering if i can actually do this without making a total ass of myself before boarding or wanting out of the plane :( My loved one is in the states and i have to fly to get there, i know i do but the thought of 7 hours in a plane is totally destroying me, especially to new york after the hudson event and yes 9/11 is still in my mind. I'm so afraid that i will lose it on the plane and make a total show of myself....ive been like this for years and have these thoughts of taking off and something going wrong or mid air and all i have below me is water! I really really need help with this

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Just to add to this, I'm 27 year old female and really dying to go to the states next month but i just wish i could get excited about it instead of worrying about if i'm going to die on the flight over or have such a panic attack i wont be able to get on.....its a terrible mental disorder this fear of flying because you do need to get on a plane to get anywhere, especially when your other half is on the other side of the ocean ( someone needs to build an underground tunnel from ireland to new york! ) Sometimes i feel abit ok and think to myself " People fly in and out of airports millions and millions of times every day, what makes you think you will be, out of all those people, the one to go down in a plane!'' And this sometimes helps but i still cant get out of my head what if i am on that certain plane that does go down/catch on fire/ nose dive into the ocean. I'm also terrible with turbulance, every bump and shake i think the plane is falling apart or its going to go down. I keep having these thoughts of either a part in the movie Castaway where the plane starts to go down into the sea and all you can see is the ocean coming straight in front of you OR We are about to take off and a bird flies into the engine ( yes i made the mistake of watching a clip of a plane flying out of manchester i think where a bird flew into the planes engine ) Basically after all that rambling, I'm really scared and i get so angry at this fear and myself....i really need to sort this out.
Sorry i really need to remember to say everything into one box! Can i ask, has anyone ever been to newark airport from Belfast or somewhere close? What was it like for you? Was the flight ok and did the hours just drag? Its being in the air over ocean for 7 hours just gives me hot and cold sweats!
Any advice would be wonderful and thank you for putting up with my rambles
Ah well.....guess my post wasnt bad enough or good enough as it may be. Really thought i could get support on here but 2 weeks later and nothing. Maybe because i dont live near any of the Fear of flying classes, so no selling to be done? :( I have to say im really disappointed in this site....so glad i found the Taking Flight support website after this, my faith has been restored.
Hi Rachael,

Im new here and saw u had lost faith :( Please don't.

I havent flown from Belfats to Newark but I have flown from Glasgow to Mexico and Manchester to Cuba.

They were pretty heft flights at around 10 hours or so each.

I have to admit I was terrified on both. Particularly coming ack from Cuba, I couldnt eat, drink, go to the toilet or even watch a movie...I couldnt even sit back and relax in my chair. The air hostess even mocked me :( Think thats why I have gotten so bad on flights.

This said, the flights themselves were absolutely fine, little bumpy but thats normal. My fear is all in my head!!

I just recieved Keith's book and it made for very good reading. It has definately made me feel a little bit more at ease for flying. U should giv it a try?

Im going to take it on the plane with me so if I ever feel nervous I'll just bring it out.

Im so sorry I didn't reply earlier. To be honest I havent done much posting atall as I have been busy with my uni work.

Usually Keith is very good at replying to people. He must have overlooked ur post!!

Please dont give up on us just yet :)


Hi Rachael

I can not apologise enough for missing your post. I spend hours and hours answering questions and making sure I follow every thread...this time I slipped up.
The very last thing we do here is offer help for money. I never put anything before trying to help people. I spend inordinate amounts of time on the telephone to people answering calls from airports, taking calls from abroad letting people come on courses when they can't afford it.

You are the first person to say that they are disappointed with the site...and that's in nearly six years. We had 10,000 postings on the old forum.

So if you accept my apology maybe we can start again and restore your faith in what we usually do so well.


Hi Rachael,

I hope you got my message. Right now I have to go and see the grand children so it will be late when I post my reply that I promised you today. Don't forget to send me your address.

Hi Rachael,

I have the same fear as you so I really understand what you are going through. I think films and news reports I have seen really dont help do they as just when I try to reassure myself with statistics and probabilities films like Castaway etc pop into your head! Its so frustrating but it sounds like you are really trying to beat the fear - well done! I am too and the book really helps me as I take it on the flight with me, you can also print out stuff from the website like hints and tips. What helps me also is keeping an elastic band on my wrist - every time I have a terrifying thought I PING the elastic and that distracts me from thinking negative things and reminds me to just think positive. Please keep writing on the website, this is the one website and help organisation where it really isnt about money. I have never had so much help from anywhere free of charge with such care and committment so please dont lose heart that your post was overlooked we are all here to support you although am no expert like Keith I do have loads of facts now I promise flying is safe but will you remind me when I fly on Friday...gulp.... :)It shows how strong you are that you are fighting this fear - good for you! Hope to hear from you soon!
Hey Keith, Caro and Claire.....I just got this message and your replies. I'm sorry i jumped the gun and over reacted, i guess its down to panic about the flight and feeling like everywhere i turned i couldnt get support but i know thats not true and lots of others are going through the same as me. I will give this site a far chance and thank you for getting back to me. Ok well ive booked my flight to Newark for the 27th April and returning 30th May and i was going to get the bus from Newark to Columbus Ohio and get the person im coming over to see to collect me to bring me down to memphis ( which they didnt have a problem with ) but its a 9 hour drive for them to Ohio and then back down again, where its only 2 and half hours for me to get a flight straight down to memphis....i just really really dont like the thought of spending 7 hours on a flight to Newark THEN getting another one to memphis. Two flights! my worst nightmare but nothing else for it :( I'm just scared i guess and i'll be alone and hoping i can make this ok....theres no way i'd cancel, no doubt about it but like i said, scared. Hope you all are doing well and thank you for welcoming me to the board and thank you Keith

Ok Rachael Let's take each bit at a time, I haven't heard of anyone losing it on a flight and nor has Turi ( Unfortunately because of work and family responsibilities she hasn't had a chance to join us here yet). The key is in using diaphragmatic breathing techniques...

Here is a breathing exercise which can help you to avoid these symptoms.

2. Breathe in through your nose for a count of five seconds, hold your breath for two seconds and then exhale through your mouth for seven seconds.

3. It is important to breathe in a way we call diaphragmatic breathing, which is where you get the oxygen right down to your stomach. When you breathe in, your stomach should expand – a bit like a balloon.

4. If you can place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Your stomach should rise and fall while your chest should stay still.

5. This is a very healthy way of breathing, as your lungs get as much oxygen into them as possible.

6. You should practice this method daily, as you will then be able to go into this technique if you’re feeling anxious at a later stage.

7. Your daily exercise need only to last for around five minutes or so, and the good thing about this technique is that you can practice and implement this in your daily life without drawing attention to yourself.

8. Remember, you can’t panic while you’re concentrating on breathing.

About something going wrong over water...things aren't going to go wrong...why should they? A plane doesn't have to land just because 'something goes wrong' anyway! Planes can fly for hours and hours with a 'problem'. Don't you think they think about things like this when planes are designed?

You're feeling particularly vulnerable because you're in love and because you perceive that you now have more to lose and that the risks are greater. This is a well known cause of a fear of flying.

Tryt to learn some relaxation exercises, learn some visualisations, get some magazines and audio tapes and most importantly don't think ahead. Stay in the present. The pain when you get to the dentist is never as the pain you imagine and it's the same with flying because that's what everyone tells me.

Say to yourself that "Turbulence is uncomfortable but that's not the same as dangerous."

All television programmes like the one you mention should be bannedl And from this moment on I'm going to ban you from watching them...they don't do you any good at all ...they do nothing but spread rubbish and nonsense about flying.

Finally for now, the fact is that you will have to face your fear or you'll never get rid of it...maybe you'lll never love flying like I do but you will be able to manage your fear and this week is the first step...don't expect too much of yourself...expect to be quite anxious...but that's not the same as panicking...so prepare yourself for it and accept it.

break the flight into one hour chunks...and look at Elizabeths report this week she's just done her first long haul flight ever.

I you want to ring me please do 01420 588 628 or 259 , but you may have to try a few times because I'm quite busy most days. Have confidence in yourself...and when you get there..take the onward flight.

Hi Keith, Yes i understand what your saying and i do fear that i will lose my mind or something on the flight and make a bit of a show of myself, like wanting to get off etc and i will try those breathing exercises, i was told to relax my body and when i feel like the plane is bumping around to place my hands on my lap with palms facing upwards so i dont grip the seat as that will increase my fear and when i feel a bumb to start slightly to bounce in my seat ( not sure how sane i would look bouncing about though! ) You are right, my loved on is in the states and i do feel a greater risk of something bad happening to me and never seeing them again and my mum, its amazing what your mind does to you.....sometimes i wish i could scoop it out and place it on my bedside table like old people do with their teeth!! Some days are better than others of course and my mum told me the other day that kinda worked abit for me, she said '' Your at no greater risk in a plane dying or something terrible happening than you are crossing the road, laying in bed or going to the local supermarket...when its your time, its your time and nothing you can do to stop it so, really wants the point in worrying?'' She has no fear of flying at all, flys at least once every 2 weeks.

Caro....where are you off to on friday? The best of luck with that and im sure you have a good grip on your fear, i'm still in the learning process
Hi again Rachael,

I so know how you feel about over reacting, I am a gibbering wreck at the moment as am flying on friday and people at work keep talking about crashes as they think its funny I did a fear of flying course (its hard to keep my patience I can tell you!) but am going to try and remember all the good things and block out the bad.
In one way the fact you are taking 2 flights might be a good thing and just what you need as by the 2nd flight you might feel so much calmer. I am sure if I was to have to fly lots more my fear would probably be practically gone. I keep telling myself when I get into my car I dont feel all panicky so why in a plane which is safer than cars and tubes and trains?!! Glad you are sticking with the site. Will post how my flight goes....gulp!
Hi Rachael,
I did not see your first message as I was preparing for my flight and subsequently flew my first 7 HOUR trip and return out to the Middle east last week. Part of the flight was over the Black Sea and the last part over the Arabian Gulf. I can really recommend concentrating hard on the breathing exercises as described by Captain Keith and doing relaxing sequences. About 3 weeks before I fly I begin do my breathing and relaxation every day , flat out on the bed for about 20-30 mins.I listen to relaxing music, and practice breathing long and deep in the taxi to the airport and usually try to do some more when through security. Once settled on the plane I fasten my seat belt as tight as possible and snuggle back into my seat and sit with palms up wards. If necessary I "breathe through take off and if at anytime I feel the slightest anxiety feelings starting to bubble ( these have diminished as I have flown more frequently I may add) I automatically start concentrating on breathing. It does work for me.
I first posted here 4 + years ago, feeling very panicky about a one hour trip to France, subsequently doing flights of 2, 3, 4 and now 7 hours, my first on a Boeing 777 and it seemed so huge and spacious I did not feel any claustrophobic feelings at all.
MY "flying career" has not come easily and I will still have to practice relaxing before every trip but I can honestly say none of my flights have been as bad as I feared . In fact the "build up" leading up to flight day is usually much worse than the flights themselves.
Do keep asking questions and let Keith and his team reassure you.
We are all here to help, share experiences and encourage one another,
best wishes, Elizabeth.

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