I only joined this forum a few weeks back, just before I was scheduled to fly to New York. I’ve never really been that comfortable with flying and have done long haul before but in recent years this has turned into a really quite morbid fear. The aforementioned trip to New York was actually a surprise birthday present from my partner and my reaction - which to put it lightly was less than enthusiastic (I more or less told her that she shouldn’t have bothered!!!) - pretty much convinced me that I had to do something about it.
Anyway, I made the trip and had a fantastic time. And that’s something you’ve always got to bear in mind – the end result. It’s incredible really. In the morning I was in the less than glamorous surroundings of the West Midlands and a few hours later I was in Times Square, New York! (If I’ve offended anybody, sorry - I live in the West Midlands and even though I’m not a native I do like the place…just trying to get my point across!)
The flights were absolutely fine (we flew BA from the new Terminal 5 – which is a very nice and slick operation now following its much publicised teething problems) and as always, I had the same thought I have after every flight…why was I so nervous? Of course, it’s easy for me to say that to other anxious flyers after the event but in the cold light of day the facts are that it really is the safest form of transport.
That didn’t stop me be really nervous on the day we flew out though (and I still felt glum on the day we were flying back) but I was OK on the plane. I don’t have major panic attacks or anything like that. In fact, when I mentioned to the flight attendant on the return journey that I was a nervous flyer she said she would never have guessed. She didn’t know what was going on in my head of course but that’s the point…so much of it is what’s in your head, distorted by your imagination rather than reality. To that end, I’d really recommend watching the videos on the site and listening to Captain Keith’s podcasts and the downloadable audio CD, both of which are very good. I played them before and during the flight and they really helped (I have to confess though that a couple of vodkas on the plane also helped though that’s no real solution!)
I’m still a bit away from being ‘cured’ as it were but I’m going to keep at it. I want to get to the stage where boarding a plane is as routine to me as hopping on a bus so I’ll keep visiting this site for hints and tips and the occasional chat. And for those of you flying in the near feature I know what you’re feeling but the facts are you’ll be fine!
Well done for the New york flight. After 35 years of morbid fear I have had 2 years of getting better and better about flying and on my recent trip to Spain I even dropped off to sleep for 30 minutes, something that would have been unimaginable a couple of years ago.
Captain Keiths book really helped and you're right about the vodka, it really doesn't help in the long run. I've not had a drink before, during or after a flight for two years and feel so much better ( I used to have many rituals before flying one of which was downing 4 brandys). As you rightly say what is going on in your head is under your control and I also want to get to the stage that I jump on a plane like I jump on a train.
Good luck for future flights
Thanks for the reply Kate and good luck with your future flights. Like I said I still think I've got a way to go before I'm totally confident about flying but this site and the forum has been a great help so I'll continue to vist and avoid the scare stories and hype that I was always digging up before. Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative!
Thanks Leila - yeah, for some strange reason I was always watching these air disaster programmes, which bemused all my friends and family knowing as they did about my flying fear. Best avioded in future!
Firstly congratulations on the flight and I’m glad you loved NYC – I’ve been every year for the past 7 years ( I actually booked my first trip and first long haul 5 weeks after 9/11 I must have been mad!) and I adore the place (well unless we go in winter and its just cold cold cold!).
I went to Chicago last week and was exactly the same as you. I didn’t like it by any stretch of the imagination but I was okay and just kept imaging the weather being much better than Manchester and the fact that we’d not been before and had an amazing hotel kept me going through the flight out.
I took my Capt Keith book and had a quick read before I boarded and during take off. At one point I was waiting for the bathroom and the stewardess asked if I minded putting some stuff into the bins in the galley for her. I know it was nothing but I actually felt quite proud!! It made it feel 'normal' rather than being 36000 ft in the air.
To be honest I’d rather do long haul on a bigger than a 3hr flight on a smaller one. I think for me on long haul you settle yourself down and in your mind you’re more accepting whereas on a flight to Spain I’m literally counting the minutes and watching the fingers go round on my watch.
Thanks Jo. Yeah New York is a great place. This was my second visit although the first time I was there was 16 years ago. I hope I don't have to wait as long to go back. I've never been to Chicago but heard good things about.
I know what you mean about the long haul v short haul too. I flew to Majorca last year and it's just over an hour and a half yet on the plane I'm thinking, this is going on for ever there's still 50 minutes to go - that's ages - but on the flight to New York I was like, well two hours gone only five and a half to go! It's funny how the mind works isn't it?