Does anyone else have this same fear?  I am going to Australia in March so have a 7 and a half/8 hour flight to Dubai then a 16 hour flight to Melbourne.  I love flying, especially taking off, though don't particularly like landing (thanks to a dramatic fiction film!) but the real fear is those yellow oxygen masks!  I am terrified of rubber, after my babysitters put on a gasmask when I was three.  Not the most intelligent thing to show a three year old!  I am now 48 nearly and already have butterflies in my stomach about the masks!  Anyone else got this fear?  Do you have any coping mechanisms?


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I think the most realistic thing to say is that the chances of having to use them is almost zero.

If they drop down you have a choice to breathe through them or not. If you don't you'll become unconcious and probably live...just.

I cannot understand how fearful you are must be awful...but when, push comes to shove as they like to say nowaday, I think that if you need to use them to save your life you probably will. Don't you think?

Remember the chances of having to use them are miniscule. Might be worth having a look at pictures of them....exposure therapy stuff?


Thank you Captain Keith.  Yes, some peoples phobias are so ingrained it takes a while to overcome.  You say you can't understand how fearful I am but if you've sat in a dentist chair as a child, and they slap this black rubber mask on your face and hold you down, then it becomes understandable.  My brother was 4 when we saw the gasmask, and yet he wasn't affected.  But then in 1994, when I was 30, I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, mild autism.  I was told that autistic people can be sensitive to smells and textures.  They also find upsetting things more traumatic.  I didnt like chemical smells like launderettes, hairdressers, printers shops, swawrfega, etc as a child as the smell reminded me of the dentist/hospital/mask.  But I will look at pictures of the masks, thank you.  And I'm glad you reassured me that its got nothing to do with turbulence.  I know that I would use a mask if I had to but I just want to be able to do it calmly if it happened.  But you say most masks on planes are clear plastic and this reassures me, thank you.   



Hi Diane,

I hope that my comment about not understanding your fear did not upset you. My intention was to suggest that  it was not possible for me to understand how awful it must be, because unless you know what fear is you can't even imagine what it's like ...not that I don't know why you are fearful. I can understand your fear intellectually but not emotionally. I'm sorry if I sounded rather harsh.

I have met enough people to know that i don't have a clue what fear feels like....that's why I have such respect for people who overcome it. Bravery is not being able to do something, bravery is overcoming the fear.


Awwww thank you for your message Keith, now I understand what you had said.  I am under a lot of emotional stress at the moment and I think that's adding my fear, making it magnified.  My beautiful husband is dying in a nursing home here in Birmingham, with end-stage Alzheimers, and indeed, I fear his imminent death, but at the same time look forward to it, if you get my meaning.  It would be the end of his Alzheimer's.  If I'm not stressed, then fear is not so big for me.  I am in reality excited about the trip.  I will be flying in a Boeing 777 - are they nice planes?


Tomorrow I am training some pilots to become instructors..the chap I'm working with is an ex 777 pilot, he tells me they're great.


Thats good news.  Good luck with your trainee pilots.  I have 7 and a half hours to Dubai and 16 hours to Australia in the 777.  I am amazed they have the capacity to fly hundreds of passengers thousands of miles!  I am off to sleep now to shake off this flu.  Thank you for reassuring me and take care.  Oh, I have been looking at the yellow masks on the internet.   

A very long time ago, I was on a flight where the masks came down.  Some people pulled on them, but before we put them on, the pilot said it was a "mistake" and that we didn't need them.  So we didn't put them on; we were nervous because we didn't believe that everything was okay, though the pilot said it was.  I was only ten so I don't remember a whole lot.  I do remember that once the masks come down, they can't go back up just because they don't have a mechanism to get them back into their compartments once they're down (at least they didn't then).  So we flew for the next 6 hours with the masks down.  But the pilot was right, and we landed just fine.  

Diane - I used to hate rubber, too, also because of the dentist! It doesn't really bother me anymore, and I've noticed that dentists don't tend to use them anymore, either.

Awww thank you Annie.  I am sure they wont be used.  Its just purely precaution and how many flights have the pilots made where nothing goes wrong?  Tho usands.  I am grateful that you share my fear of the rubber.  Glad yo u succeeded in overcoming.  sorry my typing is not good, i am typing with one hand - my wrist is broken and in aplaster cast


Hey Diane

sorry to say you're wrong with the thousands of's millions.


Hi Keith, that makes me feel even better! :-) Hope you are well and I do apologise for the delay in response.  I fly out tomorrow and am really excited now.  It's going to be fine, relaxing and enjoyable.  My hand is no longer in a cast but is in a splint so will need elevating on the plane.  Take care everyone.

Hi Diane

Have a great trip and let us know how you get on.


Thank you Keith.  I take to the skies 2130 tomorrow.   Thank you for your encouragement and reassurance.

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