Hello everyone, my name is Ed and I am new here! I'd like to share my experience with flying with all of you and captain Keith. As my topic says I have not been able to fly since september 2001. On 9/11/2001 I were on board an austrian airlines flight from vienna to chicago. We were in the canadian airspace when the plane turned around and flew back to vienna. Almost 17 hours of flying. Shortly after turning the plane the captain explained the reasons why... He had said "the united states is under attack" so we flew back. I myself did not panic at that moment but many other people did. Yelling and screaming was involved. Two weeks later I flew back again from vienna to chicago with minimal anxiety. I have not flown since.

I would like to say that I have no issues with trusting the pilots. I have no issues with landings or turbulence. I fear waiting to board the airplane and being among other people who will share the flight with me. I fear seeing all the seats in the cabin and knowing how many people will be there. I fear the time just before take off. I know this might sound silly compared to other fears people face and it quite annoys me to be honest but I can not find a way to get over this. At the time I did not think anything of it but it appears that fear I had witnessed within other people on 9/11 while sharing the same flight now is preventing me from flying because I wish not to face that again.

If there is anything else you would like me to share from that day I will or any other information you might need to better understand my feelings please ask...


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all i can think of is that that was a long time ago and everything is much improved and a repeat very unlikely if at all.  i seem to always be surrounded by people asleep, i wish i could join them

Thanks for your interesting post Ed. I imagine being in an enclosed space with people panicking around you must have been a deeply unsettling experience even if, as you say, you weren't panicking with them. I'm wondering whether you think they were panicking because of fear for their country, or because of the very peculiar-sounding statement from the person in charge of their flight? Either way, your fears are certainly not silly and you clearly have a challenge ahead of you assuming you are thinking of flying again. Personally, I would start with some rational thought about the experience and what I know, factually about flying (not the same as feelings, but no less factual): for example, 'I'm not responsible for other people's feelings and behaviour, and I have a choice about what to believe about threat'. For me, statements like this are memorable and rehearsable, and, importantly, true: if I'm following other people's emotional lead in an unthinking way then I'm ignoring what's real - that the plane and crew is behaving normally, and that I have no reliable evidence to the contrary. What's also true is that it was very unlikely you would find yourself in an emotionally-charged situation on a plane in the first place, and that it would be incredibly unlikely for you to be in a similar situation again. I know this kind of rational thinking is not in itself the answer to all our fears - rational thinking can often be the first thing out of the door when something alarming occurs - but it is the most reliable foundation on which to build, and why I personally need to rehearse, practise and look for evidence to back it up regularly if I'm to stand a chance of staying rationally-minded in a stressful situation.

The very best of luck Ed!

Hi Ed 

Sorry I haven't been around. Your experience must have been very frightening. Now it's time to leave it in the past. But how do you do that? First you must face your fear. You must take another flight and see that perhaps you are not as worried as you are thinking.

Your fears don't sound silly to me and I have to say that I'm pleased that I have never had such an experience, however it is approaching the time that you'll need to change what you've been doing into something that you want to do.

Not easy  but we're here top give whatever support you need.


Thank You Carly, David and Captain Keith...

David, You are right "peculiar" is the best way to describe it. Perhaps that is why I remember it still to this day.

I find any conversation helps a little and your responses prove that. I know instinctively I would be ok and as I understand Captain Keith, that first hurdle will be the toughest one.

I do a lot of visualization exercises which help. I also watch a lot of boarding and take off videos. Nothing can replace the real thing.

I wonder if meeting the pilots would help?

yes almost certainly, but don't pin your hopes on things you can't control ... if you can meet the crew all well and good, if not do something else.


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