Leaving in a week for a 6hr flight from NY to LA


 I am flying from New York to Los Angeles at the end of next week, and for the past month and a half, I have been panicking about this flight, to the point that it is ruining all of my excitement for this trip... I can't really figure out what my exact issue is with flying, but the thought of not being in control of the plane and the "what if's" just freak me out.  I have flown at least 10 times before, but the past couple of years my fear of flying has intensified so badly that just the thought of it makes me have an anxiety attack.  I just want so badly to realize there is nothing to be afraid of, I just don't know how.  Does anybody have any suggestions that have helped them get over their fears?  Thanks!!!

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Comment by Captain Keith on May 17, 2012 at 10:27am

Nicole...well done,

Don't underestimate the courage it takes to change a point of view...it really is a break through and  big congratulations from me for doing that.

With the extra energy you have over from handing control to the people whoo are trained for the job, use it to be positive and realistic about what you can achieve on this flight.

Step by step is a sure way of getting a lasting fix. Don't expect miracles...be realistic. I don't expect you to write back after your flight and say that you want to be the first person on Mars. I expect that probably you'll say  something like, "it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but there were times when I was a bit worried!"

Would you settle for that ?

Well done


Comment by Nicole G on May 17, 2012 at 4:08am

Hi Captain Keith,

I appreciate your advice, and I think it is helping in the days leading up to my flight.  The point you made about me drilling my own teeth or cooking my own food actually made me realize a lot and your right, why bother choosing my flight to be concerned about.  I am hoping I can just remember things like this and I will be okay on my flight.  My only other concern is once the plane takes off, the whole leveling out situation.  I don't know if you could possibly answer this question considering every flight is different, but if you can, on average how many minutes would you say it takes for the plane to feel that it is leveled out?

Thank you again!

Comment by Captain Keith on May 11, 2012 at 8:22am

Hi Nicole

As you know there aren't any quick answers but that doesn't matter you can at least reduce your anxiety a bit ...sufficient to get thru' your next few flights. Please  have a look at the main website and read  as much as you can about flying  so that it becomes familiar and normal. Flying a plane is very straight forward so all those what if's are wasted. Sure ask a few questions but don't keep digging until you scare your self.

We all have fears and worries so don't imagine that your fear of flying is a weakness, because it's not...it's just the way you are. Accept that you'll probably always be a bit nervous ... flying is just a means to an end. treat it as such and don't magnify it. I spent over 35 years flying professionally and nothing at all happened to me.

How many people on this site would prefer to have you flying the plane rather than me? Imagine if on your flight a nervous passenger told you that he/she was going to fly the plane...would you feel better or worse?

That's the position you're wanting to put other people in....

You can't fly a plane better than any pilot so just accept that fact. It's a distraction and a hindrance to hang on to the notion of being in control.

Do you drill your own teeth...cook your own food in a restaurant, drive the taxi, manufacture your own medication?  Why pick on wanting to control the plane.

Sure I know you don't really mean exactly what you say...but is it helping you or hindering you having such a thought. Concentrate on giving up control of the things you can't control and control the things you can  like those unhelpful 'what if' thoughts.

As I say to many people here, I know I sound hard and uncaring but there's no point in getting all soft and cuddly and fluffy unless it helps. And staring your fear in the face is the best and quickest way to scare it away. Fear hates being challenged because it's seen for what it is. Challenge fear and it'll run away.

Fear is the biggest bully on the planet.



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