Friday 16 February 2007

Fear of Flying

I was soooo worried that British airways was going to lose my suitcase. You see British Airways has lost thousands of passenger's suitcases over the last 4 months (that's lost each day). We had a bad deep dark fog for about 4 consecutive days and they blamed the lost luggage on the fog. That has since proved to be untrue. I had momentarily toyed with the thought of not checking my suitcase but then after the whole carry on fiasco I am glad I had come to my senses and decided to take a risk on BA.

What this meant was that I had forgotten all about one very important factor:

I am afraid to fly. Not so much the flying bit but the landing and taking off bit. So I count. And breathe quickly. And squeeze the arm rest (even if a stranger's arm happens to be there). I feel very sorry for people sitting next to me. When I feel the thrust of the engines on take off, I start counting to 100. If I make it to 100 I feel safe. If I don't, well, that's never happened.....yet.

Landing is a bit different. I never know when to start counting. If I can see the ground I can sort of guess when I think is an appropriate time to start counting. If I can't see the ground, I start counting way too soon, get to 100 before we are even close to the ground, find myself bent over in crash position, crying hysterically. I squeal when we hit the ground and sit up to find the person next to me is holding their arm as it drips blood from my finger nails being driven into them.

I used to travel a lot for work before I had the job I currently have. Flying often meant that I had less and less anxiety about it. Although now I do tell myself that statistically if you fly often, it is more likely that your plane will crash. Now I just insist on sitting at the back of the plane. Statistically, I have a greater chance of surviving the crash, I delude myself.

My husband loves to fly. One of his favourite programs is Air Crash Investigations which he watches frequently. I try to make sure I am not in the room but you can't help picking up the sounds and tiny details which taken out of context makes my condition even worse!

I very rarely fly without my husband and children now. In fact, in 6 years, I have only flown twice without them. Both of those times have been in the last 4 months. Marc and I have flown lots all over the world together. He is very good at explaining to me what all the different noises are and if I should be afraid (he always says no but I'm not sure if he would tell me I should). I always want to ask at check-in if they could assign me a travel buddy who could do the same.

Flying is always the worst part of a business trip for me. Funny thing is......the flying wasn't the worst part of this last trip. Oh now, that was just the beginning (or the middle bit - or simply one more thing).

PS Airplane food sucks! It used to be bad. Then it got better. Now you get a sandwich thrown at you. You have to ask if there is a choice of sandwiches. This causes the flight attendant to scowl. There is a small chocolate biscuit with the sandwich and you get a lukewarm cup of tea after your sandwich. I just love British Airways.......

1 comment:

Janell said...

Fear isn't always a bad thing. It can turn even the most mundane, commonplace activitiy - such as flying in an airplane - into an adventure and ordinary people -like husbands - into heroes.
have a good weekend!