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Managed to fly to Jersey last May for our wedding anniversary. Importantly, if it was to be a bad experience it would be mercifully short. It helped to visit the airport beforehand, drink a coffee and watch the aircraft take off.
Actually, despite an unscheduled wait at the start of the runway lasting 15 minutes (I just wanted to get it over and done with!) the weather conditions couldn't have been better. Good visibility also made the flight both distracting and interesting.
Armed with this experience I then took a flight to Southern Spain in January 2011. We have been forced to drive there for several years. Once again, the conditions were good and I felt in control for the duration of the flight.
Am going to fly again to Southern Spain this summer (we have a timeshare out there) but have opted for Business Class.
I find the crowds in the airport very disconcerting, along with the seemingly endless queueing, not to mention the embarrassment of having to remove my boots/shoes. I am disabled and find balancing on one leg whilst I remove footwear tricky - they never seem to think that a chair would be a good idea, and even remove my walking stick before going through the metal detector! I feel that the whole world is staring at me at these times which is hardly conducive to remaining calm before a flight as I really need to concentrate on this. However, the Business Class Lounge is like an oasis of peace and along with this comes the option of speedy embarkation procedures, also helpful to me as I find it difficult to stand for lengthy periods.
Sadly, this costs a good deal more that your economy flight but think that it is well worth all the extra money for the ability to fly. Diving also costs a fortune as the journey cannot be done in one day during the winter as the ferries only go to France.
I totally agree. It's absurd, but being in a more luxurious area of the plane makes me feel safer. I remember going from Brazil to Switzerland back in 1997 (12 hour flight), and I was scared of flying then, but once I got on the plane - we went business class - it was lovely. It was a Swissair flight - I believe a 767, and the flight was great - you could even see the trajectory of the plane on the little screen in front of you. Then we landed in Zurich,Switzerland - one of the most gorgeous cities on earth. It was brilliant. I wish I could feel that way again.
You will one day...keep working at it
This is a great discussion on the claustrophobia aspect of flying and its the one that probably causes me the most difficulty. Like many contributors, I have this fearful visualisation of losing it totally and wanting to get off the plane in mid-flight. I can visualise myself running amok in the cabin and generally making a fool of myself and causing untold aggravation to crew and other passengers. In a strange way, the thought of inflicting that on anyone else seems to help keep me in check. Despite having these thoughts before a flight - it has never come to that. I've flown many times around Europe and on three occasions to date, I've flown long-haul to NZ and back as well as six trans-Atlantic flights to Canada. My experience is that although I'm anxious about the clasutrophobia - it has never become the total disaster I envisaged in the days or weeks before the flight. Having a plan for each flight - i.e a plan about things to do while airborne (e.g. reading, listening to music etc. etc.) is a great help. On many many occasions while flying, I've actually overcome the terrible anxiety and relaxed and looked out the window and enjoyed the view. Somehow there's a sort of acceptance that comes about and its great when this happens - although I admit, I usually feel pretty drained by that stage. But still the hope is alive that one day I'll achieve my goal of fearless flight. One thing I'm certain of is that I'll not let the fear beat me to a point where I refuse to fly - I've been battling this stuff for too long now to concede defeat. Just my tuppence worth. Best wishes to all and keep flying and practicing the advice and avail of the support from this site. Frank Edwards.