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Over the summer I took 5 flights in 4 weeks. I really think I’m where I wanted to be with getting over my fear.
Normally booking tickets would be stressful and involve researching airline safety records and checking weather forecasts. This time I genuinely forgot to do all that. The only flight where that crossed my mind was with Croatia Airlines, but I remembered Keith saying any carrier that flies over the EU has to comply with massively strict rules and that made me feel better.
The evening before flying with Croatia Airlines I checked what plane it would be. It was a Dash 8 Q-400 which I’d never heard of but it’s got turbo-prop engines! That was a first for me. But I really wasn’t that scared. And once on the plane, I really preferred it as the take-off was so much quicker!
I do think a big factor was my end-of-year present to myself. After a year of working overtime almost every Saturday, I flew business class on my holiday flights. With the exception of Gatwick (I hate that airport) it made such a difference to be able to wait for my flight in a quiet, comfy lounge (with buffet food/drink.)
I’ll admit I’m still not comfortable during take-off. I still count to 250 in my head. But that’s not such a big deal, is it? I know my counting doesn’t affect the plane, it’s just something that calms me down. And I realised that on my flight back to Kiev. Because I counted to 250 and the seatbelt lights still hadn’t gone off. So I kept counting and I got to 350 and still the lights were on and the cabin crew were in their seats. I wondered why the captain hadn’t turned off the seatbelt lights. Two possible scenarios presented themselves.
1. Something terrible was going on and despite the apparently calm flight, we were in immediate danger and the pilots were giving their all to keeping the plane in the air.
2. The captain had forgotten to switch off the seatbelt lights.
Probably it was neither of those, but I told myself it was the second option, counted to 500 before giving up and reading a boring article in the airline’s magazine and after about 20 minutes the lights went off and the cabin crew started doing their thing. Beyond speculation, I really never felt that worried.
So in conclusion, the thought of flying no longer scares me. Booking tickets doesn’t scare me. The airport doesn’t scare me. Take-off: I’m not that scared but I want a bit of calming and counting is the most innocuous thing ever. The flight itself doesn’t scare me, descending doesn’t scare me unless it’s really bumpy and landing doesn’t scare me.
That’s it. There’s nothing left to be scared of!