I Have just joined the site after watching Keiths DVD and have bought the book (but not yet read, intending to next week whilst trying to relax on a weeks break in the Lakes). Am going to New York on 5 September with my husband , daughter (25) and son (18). This is the first ever family holiday abroad together (due to the large age gap of my children). I was diagnosed with breast cancer when my son was 5 months old and I feel so happy  to still  be here and to be going with them, but at the same time I am terrified.I  Suffer from claustrophobia (after being stuck in a lift some years ago), and have a history of panic attacks - I really really want to do this trip for my family (and  myself- after all I have already being through) - can anyone give me a few words of encouragement??

Only joined the site on Sunday, and have read a lot of blogs and also Keiths  replies / advice, but at the time of joining wasn't even aware of the air France disaster and have been in a fair old state today! I feel totally worn out and stressed to the point that I could have burst into tears whilst walking round the supermarket and at work. I look around my office at my colleagues and think why me? Every one I know has been going on planes year after year and always gets there and back fine. My husband and daughter are frequent travellers and I never worry that something will happen to them - it will just be the one that I board.  

Thanks to those who have already contacted me through my page.


Julie W



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Hello Julie,

Welcome to the Forum.

I hope you find this useful and inspiring. I know that I have!

Like yourself I am claustrophobic, when I was very young my Dad and elder sister got stick in a lift and my sister came home in tears telling me how horrible it was, seeing her so visibly upset was the start of a long road of pain for me which I'm happy to say is under control these days. I'd never go in lifts, underground trains and of course planes!

If you have watched the DVD you will see my ugly mug, I've got a bald head and I'm sitting at the back of the plane with my wife beside me for comfort! That was the first time I had managed to get on a plane in something like 10 years and only the second flight I had taken in my life. I am more than happy to tell you that since that day I have taken 22 flights and I'm just in the process of booking a skiing trip at the start of 2013 which I am very excited about as I've never been skiing before.

Best of luck. Jim

I can echo Jim - my flying was limited before I joined the site and since then (even though its been baby steps) I racked up a similar number. Some short ones like my Hamburg one this week that was only an hour or so - some bigger 3 times to NYC, a Chicago trip, a Boston trip, Cuba and a Washington trip in January.


NYC is the most amazing place in the world - you will have an absolute ball!!! I've been 5 times and would still go back in a heartbeat.


Right - lets tackle everything one at a time. Do you know what plane you're flying on? One big thing I learnt from the site is knowledge is power. If you know what plane it is you can work out the best seat for you - I always if possible have the seat over the wing because its the most steady (I flew back from Hamburg on an 80 seater at weekend and had the seat right at the back - the 'bounce' is much more noticable there so I won't be doing that again!!) and you can see the wing and watch the tip.  I posted in a thread below about the wing. If you watch the tip you can see that it barely moves and what your tummy feels is 10 times worse. Your brain tricks you into making it seem more than it really is.


Take your NYC guide book too - thats a sure fire way to distract you for a while!


Hand luggage - from a girl's point of view this is your chance to spoil yourself!! I want you striding through that airport feeling like Victoria Beckham heading for the First Class cabin :))))  I insist on new hand luggage it makes you feel special. Aromatherapy oils - start to use these NOW at bedtime and you'll soon associate the smell with being calm and relaxed. Hand cream - again distraction distraction distraction! I've actually been known to take a clear facepack with me on my NYC to stop my face drying out - scared the bejesus out of the person behind me :) In fact anything you can mess with that takes your mind off where you are. I always put my earplugs, sleep mask and lip balm in a little purse to go in the seat pocket so I'm not scrabbling around for them. Which reminds me - earplugs. They are my 100% can't do without item - they block out the noise of other people, the plane and generally put me into my own little world. Get the swimmer ones for children - they're plastic rather than foam.


As for the claustrophobia - when you first get on a plane it always seem small (although my 80 seater at weekend actually was!!!!) but after 15 mins or so you'll get settled and its not so bad. Every plane I get on I think 'urgh I can't breathe there's no air' but it passes. 


Sending you lots and lots of positive vibes!! Jo

Thank you so much to both of you - I am sat crying buckets now as I write this, at you kind words. I have got myself in a bit of a state after reading something yesterday on the internet (reported in 2010 about the poor running and safety of JFK airport and it has set me back as I feel 100% worse than I did last week! I cried for most of yesterday and told my family that I wouldn't be going with them. My daughter spent the afternoon trying to make me think positive thoughts and after reading your two remarks am a bit more cheerful. :)



Sweetie you can message and post on here every single day as many times as you need until you go and I promise I'll do everything I can to make this as easy as possible for you. I made a fabulous friend on this site called Helen who has been my rock. We swap pressies before one of us flies to take with us - either a little roll on aromatherapy oil or something and we exchange texts when we land. It makes such a difference knowing that someone down on the ground is rooting for you for every mile you do.  She sneaked off and did a flight a few months ago that she'd initially backed out of and you have no idea how proud I was of her when a text came whilst I was having my dinner from here to say 'Guess what I'm here!!'. I will be equally as proud of you when you land at JFK.


If you need anything at all just shout and I'll be waiting x

Thank you so much Jo, I will be in touch again later in the week. We are setting off for the Lake district in an hour or so until Friday, so it's unlikely that I will have access to internet unless we stumble on anywhere with free WIFI. Many many thanks and much love


Hi Julie,

I have learnt NEVER read anything on the internet except for something in a group like this, with the guidance of a Captain! Otherwise it will send you into a panic - the reports are so distorted. Even my husband (not a nervous flyer) read one particular report, about an incident, that was reported worldwide several times. He then read the actual official report on it and could not believe the difference. It was nothing like it was reported!

As you know yourself (and I do too) life is too short, not to do these things, although I equally understand how awful the fear feels - it can tear you apart. I have been in the same state as you! Breathing exercises help enormously, do things to keep your mind off it and READ the book asap - that will help! I have been doing this all week.Then ask Captain Keith any questions that you feel were unanswered or you weren't sure about. I have done this and feel even happier now.


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