I'm taking a 9 hour flight in two days and I must say that this site has helped me manage my stress. I don't actually have a fear of the technical side of flying; I'm actually quite fascinated by planes and I do enjoy certain aspects of the flight. Like many other contributors I've read, I've flown quite a bit, without any apprehension, and suddenly, one day, I just started panicking about flying, and for no known reason. I did no airplane trips for years because of my fear untill I was "forced" to after my sister had her first child. I didn't, like others, have a bad flight experience but I think the link to my fear is that once you start being afraid of flying (for whatever reason) you anticipate the fear that you assume will occur on the next flight you will take. That is my view on my flight anxiety. I seem to be afraid of my reaction on the flight and not the flight itself. The second last flight I took I really enjoyed. I talked with the cabin crew, looked out at the clouds and watched my home town get closer as we landed. So why did my last flight stress me so much ? I have yet to answer that answer but I believe it is causing my stress for my upcoming flight. I have no technique for managing my stress but I always travel with a prescription anti-anxiety medication which, strangely enough I have only used once. I have come to the conclusion that I may have agoraphobia when in a plane and probably control issues (If I could actually fly the plane I'd be quite calm but would the passengers be as calm as I). I have gotten to the stage where I understand that this fear is irrational (on a purely safety basis) and thinking back on my enjoyable flights help me quite a bit in calming my nerves.
Well that's my story. Thank you to this website for tackling the fear of flying from, not only the technical angle but also the psychological angle. The two seem indisociable. You are a valuable ressource for the many airplane travelers like myself.