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It is a while since I took a look at the forum and things have changed so much, all for the better too! I wanted to come back and show my appreciation for Captain Keith and this website and resources and maybe give hope to those who feel they will never overcome their fear.
I first flew, aged 18, to Greece and thoroughly enjoyed the mild turbulence as a well-travelled friend assured me it was all part of the fun! Later I took a bumpy flight from Manchester to Dublin on a tiny plane and there were no ill-affects. Somehow after that my fear grew, possibly because I don't like situations I don't feel in control of such as being a passenger in a car, I would far rather be the driver. I refused to fly for a few years.
Since then I have taken flights across Europe in varying states of terror with my poor boyfriend in turns concerned and embarrassed. Then came the opportunity to run the New York Marathon, a life-long dream. Luckily I stumbled upon this website and got the book and actually enjoyed the flight to NYC despite one or two turbulent patches. On the way back a rough take-off due to storms and a bumpy flight home set me back. So back to Captain Keith. Next flight was to NYC again, then from NYC to Vegas. The bumps on this flight were off-set by the Grand Canyon views, I thought I was cured! Then the home-ward flight from Vegas to London. The huge plane was thrown around in some of the highest winds the pilot said he had encountered. I spent the whole flight either in panic or with my head on the window just wishing it would end. Couldn't believe the people watching the movie and EATING during this surely near-death experience with their heads wobbling from side to side.
The following year I almost pulled out of an amazing ski trip to Colorado because of fear of the flight - so back to Captain Keith and, there and back, the flight was perfectly smooth. Something began to click. It didn't matter how bumpy or smooth the flight, I still got there in one piece and had a fantastic holiday and was living my life to the full.
Now, I have returned from a winter trip to beautiful Vienna courtesy of air miles and my frequent flyer status. I can't honestly say I was 100% comfortable on the return journey which was bumpy but I was certainly ok and mostly relaxed. And once again we landed perfectly normally and safely despite snow in Europe and cloud across London. A quick check on here to find out about some of the noises I heard and my knowledge builds and my journey continues again.
My view is that flying is a privilege. Being able to look down on London and my beloved Twickenham Stadium on take-off and landing is something to look forward to. I have looked down at The Alps, the Greek Islands, the frozen seas of Greenland, the Grand Canyon, Venice at sunset. I've sipped champagne and got restaurant recommendations from new friends on the way to Greece, and got the inside info on a Mike Tyson trial from a CNN man en-route to Vegas.
Whilst I still have minor panics and thoughts of 'what-if', what I have gained from flying far outweighs the times that are hard. I will turn back to these blogs and this site to reassure myself when needed and stand by my view that a nice glass of wine before boarding always helps! I hope everyone coming to this site gets what they need and I am sure that if I can do it, anyone can. Thanks again.