I had a bad experience on a flight from Germany when I was a teenager (by bad, I mean it was very turbulent and I was terrified). After that, I became more and more nervous with each flight I took. By the time I was twenty-five I was avoiding any trip which involved flying. Although I was a successful and happy person I just couldn't deal with the terror and embarrassment I felt on a plane. Then, I married an American! Naturally he wanted to visit his family in the US as often as possible and wanted his wife to come too! It was at this point that I realised my fear was having a negative impact on my quality of life. I wasn't being fair to my husband or myself. For the last ten years I have been managing to get myself on a plane and fly to America to visit my husband's family - and it has always been very unpleasant for both of us. The absolute panic I felt on take-off and landing and during turbulence became a feature of every trip we took - until last May! I came across Captain Keith's website a week before flying to Chicago - I was determined to change my situation and had desperately been looking for help and I really found it there! I read other people's experiences, listened to pilots talking about flight (and how safe it is!) downloaded podcasts about weather and turbulence and take-off. Something just seemed to click - for the first time in 18 years I was able to take a flight without panicking - I was nervous and I had moments when I could feel the panic rising - but I stopped myself! I closed my eyes and took deep breaths and relaxed my body during the take-off and landing -I kept repeating to myself "This situation is completely under control and safe" and the results were amazing. We hit one area of turbulence over Lake Michigan and I nearly lost it - but again the breathing and the mantra seemed to calm me down within minutes. I think having an understanding of how flight works and how skilled and knowledgeable a pilot is made the whole thing a much more rational experience. Also, I went to an air show in Kemble when I got back from Chicago and absolutely loved it! The skill that these pilots have and the amazing capabilities of the aircraft made me feel even more confident about flying! I would recommend an air show to anyone who is scared of flying!
Since then, I have flown to Delhi and Paris with great success. Although I will always be a nervous and apprehensive flyer and will use this forum to back up my confidence - I feel I’m now able to stop the feeling of irrational terror and at times I can actually go as far as to enjoy the flight, the beautiful views and the sunshine!