Last sunday I felt so awful and afraid I left the airport during boarding (with 2 kids in tow).  it was the third time I have done that for transatlantic flight and havent managed one now in 7 years. I have decided to try again - and be more in touch with my panic, and reconize it will come and go, instead of ignoring it untill i get the crucial shakes at the gate and then leave.  Has anyone ever successfully got on a plane after being so afraid they leave while boarding (and lose alot of money!).  I have the cd's and book, and they do help when I am calm, but once the panic comes, it suddenly feels like "brainwashing"


Any tips?  I am flying monday morning......

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Keith - you are a hard man!! Made me feel really emotional reading your reply but I know you're right! How could you not be?! & yes I feel like a chastised child! Perhaps that's what I need?!! New fact on you... youngest ever flying instructor at a mere 21?! Wow!

I felt the plane 'fall' a 100ft or so in a matter of seconds. What happened?


I like your analogy of going up another level looking for a parking space... that helps, thanks. I have watched Jasper on video 3 or 4 times, it does help. It's actually amusing as there is a degree of panic in his voice as he struggles with the seat belt. He is totally unfazed completing the go around though

Your book written with Dr. Alison Smith arrived yesterday and I realised that it's actually 3 books condensed into one. I'm reading the first book for the third time. I am absorbing the facts and telling myself over and over that 'flying is the safest form of transport, I've done it before & can do it again!'

I started reading Alison's book last night... I don't like her suggestion that I practice getting over my other fears first... getting in a lift scares me equally as much as flying! My sister in law used to live 11 floors high.. I climbed the stairs! Exposure, exposure, exposure, scary to both, lifts & flights! Perhaps the audio CD's are what will 'sort' me.

I've managed to delay booking  a holiday abroad by a week... persuaded my husband we need to spend a week in peaceful Argyll w/c 29/8. I'd give up delay tactics and just refuse to contemplate flying if I didn't want to go abroad... I need a holiday & a rest!

I really wish I could have made it to Alton today but I'm saving my money for my holidays.... the second 2 weeks in September! (hopefully!) You know our reputation for being 'tight!' Keith. I know of two people, who, besides myself would love your help up here.

I do appreciate all the replies and I will take your advice & give up the idea of hypnotherapy and deal in fact. I will order the missing piece of support, the CD's. Time is running out to deal with my fear as I'm on leave from Friday coming, for 4 weeks.



You're doing fine Jacqui


I admire your determination.



Thanks Keith.

Reassuring to know you're at the end of the phone too! Don't know where else I'd turn without your site. Waste my money on hypnotheraphy I expect. LOL!  Heading to bed soon for another 2 or 3 chapters of FACTS.

Debating buying the audio course or actually travelling to complete the course?


I think it would be good for you to attend the course to complete it with Keith there for you in person and being in the actual cabin set-up will give you safe and valuable practice and exposure.

One thing I am reminded of from a book I read is to make yourself really relaxed and then imagine yourself being happy and smiling as you walk to the plane (IE you are imagining how you would like to be when taking a plane trip) and practise this visualisation on a daily basis until such time as you are actually going to board the plane and because of this practice your brain kicks in with the visualisation and helps to quell your fears on the day.

Imagine the positive and that is what you will get!

It has helped me!

The other thing to remember excitment and fear feel pretty much the same so tell yourself that actually you are excited and you maybe will realise that that is what you are feeling and be happy to get the adrenaline rush and go with it!

Just a few thoughts.


Diana, thank you....

 I have really tried HARD to visualise being that happy, positive person as CK advises 'stop living in the past,' but I just can't, yet... Think you & I read the same book; 'Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway?'

I have also tried to quash any flight fears with happy visualisations of the cabin crew bringing me coffee, trying to sell headphones. perfume etc. visualising the routine which is so normal to them, hearing the Captain telling us the warm temperature at our destination etc but all the time whilst attempting these 'sunny' thoughts I feel really fearful & the tears come.....

I really don't know what I can do... I live & work on a flight path, my husband has the app on his iphone showing planes taking off & landing at Edinburgh  airport safely every 5 minutes.... I question what turbulence etc they experienced to be able to land safely?

I have so many happy memories of Menorca in particular but just don't know what I can do... Keith, can you pilot the plane, pleease?

Yes...or maybe someone I trained?



Could you go to the airport on a daily basis so at least the check-ins and front area of airport become a daily experience for you as you walk around for a while? and gradually the feelings of the normality of it all being an everyday occurrence might kick in a little more - not just a place to visit when you are in panic mode?

Some flights are easier than others for us all and as Keith says we are not magically cured, but the fear in the background can and will be squashed into an insignificant little patch that WILL not have the power to spoil the beginning of the holiday!!!


PS There is always turbulence but I tell you what in my experience the pilots maneouvre around those areas of it as much as they can given their route and if you actually counted in your head how long each bit lasts it's seconds - I always imagine the plane is travelling along a bumpy lane - you do not think your car is going to crash off the road because of a bumpy lane do you? :) and of course if you sit at the back you do seem to get more movement with it happening - the same as if you sit at the back of a car.

These are the sort of things that help me personally!


Diana -thanks for taking the time to reply. I did have in my mind to visit the airport and grab a pilot! I thought I could go and find out which pilot would be flying the plane I was thinking of boarding on Monday.... I feel I'd feel more confident if I knew what he looked like and if I could speak to him! I guess pilot's would have their time tables for the week ahead. A daft idea I know as I'd probably not be able to get near him anyway. 

I have experienced turbulence & assume this is what happened when I felt the plane fall. This worries me but being armed with knowledge now, don't feel as apprehensive about it. I actually think I now 'fear the fear!'  I am scared I have a panic attack and can't board the plane or manage to board but then have a panic on board. I understand the panic attack is not dangerous and will subside but this still worries me.

I am getting increasingly frustrated (as is my husband) as my leave begins on Friday. I think I am going to have to come do the course next week Keith and then if possible fly from Southampton.

Can only manage Monday



Ok - I'll get back to you.... maybe the following week?

Hi NancyB,

Delighted to read your contribution about your success in crossing the Atlantic - you were extremely brave to do that after the earlier experience of leaving the gate just at boarding time. Don't mind about the meds - as long as your dopctor is happy to prescribe them then follow his/her instructions.

The key thing to know about "panic attacks" is that they're very very uncomfortable and downright horrible at times - but they are not physiologically dangerous. I'm speaking here about a situation where the "panc" sufferer is otherwise enjoying relatively good health; where a person has a serious underlying medical condition, it is best to seek medical advice in advance.

Remember, "panic" will thrive on our running away from it - so that is not an answer in the longer term. There's been lots of great advice provided by other contributors to your posting. I would recommend, in addition, that you study closely the physiology of panic and how it affects the human body. There's lots of information available on the net and in bookstores etc. The process is, in essence, that our brain triggers the sympathetic nervous system unleashing noradrenaline (the fight/flight thing and all the attendant weird and panicky feelings) and the parasympathetic system does the reverse and calms the whole lot down again (albeit in a manner that seems dreadfully slow by comparison to the triggering process). No matter how bad the panic attack feels, it will get to a point where it peaks and then begins to subside and the body starts to relax again. The more exposure we get to these things and the more we accept the biological "facts" of what is actually happening to us - the more the problem starts to diminish. By being persistent with it - the problem will disappear over time. That, I am assured by medical professionals who have studied this syndrome in great depth, is the essence of the treatment for  "panic". Hope this is of some help. Congratulations for what you've achieved and best wishes for the future. Frank Edwards.

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