Transatlantic flight in six weeks


I am looking for some encouragement as I prepare for a flight from Toronto to the UK. I have lurked on this website in the past year or so and have found many people's comments and positive experiences very helpful. Despite there being many tools available on this website, I still feel unable to have rational thoughts and expectations of how my flight will go. I think I'm like a lot of members of this site who found flying not too bad in the past but have had one of those flights that scares the pants off you and you lose your nerve, so to speak. Now, when I fly, I find even the slightest bit of turbulence unbearably scary, and though I've had several successful plane rides since my bad flight (which I'm sure was not as bad as I have made it in my mind, it just felt that way), I can't not worry about when there will be turbulence, and the thought of flying creates a real panic in me. What if the turbulence gets bad again, or what if the plane really is in danger? I can't imagine that even if I have the most positive thoughts in the world that I will feel ok in that situation. I guess I just wanted to share after lurking for so long, and also thank people who have posted their success stories, it helps to see that people who are afraid can still do this and land safely and actually want to do it again. Any thoughts/advice are would be appreciated.

I also had a question for Captain Keith (or anyone else) about "discount" airlines - my husband likes to fly Air Transat because it has direct flights to his hometown in the UK, whereas I feel safer on bigger-name airlines like BA or Air Canada (there's not many options in Canada for direct flights to the UK) which fly us into Heathrow but then we have to take a train (I'm not ready for small planes yet) - what is the difference between these airlines? Are the planes serviced by the same companies? Do the pilots have to undergo the same tests? How can they afford to be cheaper? I am guessing there is no difference safety-wise? And lastly, what if taking a discount airline scares me more (whether I'm right to be afraid or not) - do I risk freaking out more just to save some money (and convenience - direct flight vs. Heathrow and trains)?

Thank you.

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Comment by Captain Keith on May 30, 2012 at 7:01am

I forgot to say that servicing and training are all up to the same high  standards.


Comment by Captain Keith on May 30, 2012 at 7:00am

Hi Laura

"What if the turbulence gets bad again,"

The answer to this is that you'll have to deal with it when it happens, but this isn't me just being hard and horrible...what else can you do? Turbulence is uncomfortable but not dangerous...keep saying that to yourself. Remember it feels much worse than it really is. We used to fly to Toronto every 3 months or so  to visit my son and we had more calm flights than bumpy ones.

Flying a plane in turbulence is no problem for the plane or the pilots. It's like a tractor going over a ploughed field at 600 mph....bumpy but long as you've got your seat belt securely  fastened. Don't try this out tho' it's just a way to describe turbulence!!!

"or what if the plane really is in danger?"

Well it won't be...just strap yourself in tightly and keep tightening your seatbelt as often as you can.Turbulence and danger are not linked in the way you believe. Planes are built to deal with it ...check out the videos where Jasper is flying a simulator in severe turbulence...he's even laughing about it...and he didn't fly for over 30 years.

Low cost airlines...really...not very low cost if you want to take golf clubs and book late or check in at the airport...and they get amazingly good credit terms from the planes manufacturers.

Comparing BA and budget is not comparing like with like. I think Air Transat fly to Manchester?? I'm certain my son used to use this airline to fly back home.

Make your choice of airline on rational reasons...not emotional ones. But if that means BA then BA it should be. I'd fly on any of the airlines you mention though I prefer BA because they pay my pension!


Comment by suzi on May 29, 2012 at 4:15pm

PS  Don't take me too seriously about the blacklisted thing - if you live in a developed country you won't be flying on a blacklisted aircraft :)

Comment by suzi on May 29, 2012 at 4:13pm

Some things that help me are imagining that you work as an air hostess - every morning, get up, get on a plane, it's a job... I always feel more relaxed when i'm on the plane and it's in the air than i feel beforehand, the nerves are always worse before.  Some flights i feel ok on, others i start imagining things that might go wrong, or some turbulence shakes me about slightly and it petrifies me, but for the staff on board, it's really nothing.  Some people live on small islands and they have to fly regularly for their jobs - e.g. in the Channel Islands, they have to fly on tiny prop planes to the other islands - for meetings, etc... they do it regularly and it's a necessity of their job, they don't have a choice they have to get on the things... so for them it becomes part of life.  Good luck.  PS Budget airlines are just as safe, infact their profits are usually higher than non budget airlines, they make money in other ways (charging for refreshments on board, different taxes, checking in on-line, infact they're not that much cheaper once it's all added up).  But just as safe so don't worry about it - unless you are flying a blacklisted aircraft there is no need to worry.  My husband went on a very old Russian airline once with glass on the front, he was worried a bit then... but he luckily survived.


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