Hi there,

Got my first long haul flight for as long as I can remember coming up on Sunday next week - off to Chicago with work!!! Now, my fear is mainly around moderate/severe turbulence and so I have been taking valium or drinking quite a bit before I get on the plane to take the edge off. I have only been flying to Germany/Spain etc recently. If the flight is smooth, I am generally ok.

I am going to be flying on my own for the 1st time in about 6 years too and I think the last time I flew on my own I had a major panic attack as the flight was v turbulent and I was sat on the BACK ROW of the plane! So, understandably, I am nervous.

I am travelling on a Boeing 777 which I am told are huge! Which is v comforting!

Do I try, try, try to do this flight "naturally" i.e. with breathing exercises or should I still take something to calm me down a bit as its a long old flight!!! 8.5 hours I am told.

Any thoughts much appreciated!

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Hi Dave

Does your ticket have the option for on-line check in? If so, try to get a seat near to the wings as this is where you'll feel any turbulence the least. Otherwise, explain to the check in staff and see if they can seat you near the wings.

Don't forget what Keith always reminds us - that turbence, although it can be uncomfortable, is not dangerous to the aircraft at all. Next time you're a passenger in a car, just close your eyes for a minute or two, and you'll notice the sensations are very similar - then, when you're airborne and IF you encounter any turbulence, close your eyes and imagine you are in the car again. This strategy has helped me in the past (and repeating the mantra 'uncomfortable, not dangerous' )

Hope this helps.
best wishes
Hi June - I have already got my seat - first row of Premium Economy!

Thanks for your comments. I am more concerned about my approach to the flight rather than how to handle and calm myself through the turbulence. I want to see if other people just dive right into their recovery or do they take each flight as it comes etc...

Any other thoughts out there?
We have a mantra on this site- turbulence is uncomfortable but not dangerous. Tighten your seat belt as tight as you can bear so you move with the plane (that is if you have turbulence on your flight -there may not be any) Try to imagine you are on the back seat of a bus- you would be bumped around a lot but you would not be frightened or going over a road of sleeping policemen humps.-or on a dinghy sailing
Have some prescription medication with you - it is there as a safety net if you feel you need it- but from my own experience deep breathing exercises do help to calm you but you have to practise them in the weeks before your flight .
Have you read the section on turbulence on the f of flying web site?
Several people advise others to tell the cabin crew they are nervous.
If you have some liquid in front of you you may be surprised how little it moves around even if you feel the flight is really turbulent.
All the best , Elizabeth.
Dave, I can only speak personally ( I am also flying on a 777 on a 7 hours long flight in less than 2 weeks) but from absorbing all the knowledge gained from this site, and armed with breathing techniques, and tips I have picked up from others I do physically and mentally prepare for each flight- However, I also take each flight as it comes- one has to be patient if flight is delayed - or as on one of my early flights it coincided with the gate gormet strike at LHR and arriving at Lyon we discovered our baggage was missing!!.
Also folk usually seem to be worse during the build up leading up to the actual flight day and usually find the flight itself is not as bad as they thought it would be. So far my longest flight has been 4 hours with no entertainment on board- however, larger aircraft to distant destinations tend to have screens and in flight entertainment channels which should help to make the time go faster and more food.
hope this helps, Elizabeth.
Hey Dave

I have a funny story to tell you about a flight from London to Chicago I went on 2 years ago. I was due to attend a conference in Kansas City, 1/2 hr flight from Chicago. So I went on the London to Chicago flight, I had taken some valium, and a treble gin and tonic, which made me feel drowsy but no less anxious. In fact, at some point, i called the stewardess and asked her: "is it normal, all that turbulence?", to which she responded "what turbulence, Madam?". There was no turbulence at all. The flight was very smooth, and so was teh landing, the only rough bit was getting to the American customs officer completely drugged up, and trying to persuade them that i was not a terrorist.

I never took the half an hour flight to Kansas City - I took an Amtrak train there instead (about 10 hours travel), where I was almost raped and killed as we were passing by the Mississippi River.

This put my idea of what's dangerous and what's not, into perspective. Also I decided never to take valium again.

Take care!

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