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If you're not scared of flying, can you help someone who is, tell them why?

(97 Posts)
sunflower49 Wed 13-Aug-14 13:00:23

I never used to be really scared. But now I am. I just can't get my head around how someone wouldn't be scared when they're thousands of miles in the air in a relatively small, man made vessel!

I'm not saying you're wrong if you're not scared, I just want someone to say something that will help me not be! I have a five hour flight coming up in a few days and I am DREADING it! I'm not even looking forward to the holiday as all I can think of is getting this bl00dy flight over and done with.


Nancy66 Wed 13-Aug-14 13:03:05

I'm not scared because it is the safest form of transport. Far more so than getting in my car, getting on a bus or train.

I'm also safer in the air than I am walking to my corner shop.

The pilots are highly trained and take years and years to qualify. You're in better hands with them than you are with any car driver.

Finally I love the feeling of being above the clouds.

Morethanalittlebitconfused Wed 13-Aug-14 13:04:19

It's the safest form of transport by far

I trust physics

I much prefer flying to driving and would get on a long haul flight over a journey round the M25 any day

sunflower49 Wed 13-Aug-14 13:08:55

The 'safest form of transport' thing, I get. I really do!But, I always think that if I crash in my car I'm not definitely going to die or not recover from my injuries, whereas if you crash in a plane you're pretty screwed aren't you :grin:

Thanks for the replies though-they have helped a little!

I think It's fear of, if something goes wrong, It's completely out of my control isn't it. If I was to get into a bad situation in my car, I'm a good driver,generally not panicky or nervous, I reckon I'd probably handle it pretty well to the best of my abilities.

And if something goes wrong in a plane I'd be so, so terrified in those moments before we plummet!

I don't know if It's directly related as It's got worse as I've got older but when I was young (mid-eighties) there was a plane crash highly publicised that was often on the TV..... I always remember that!

NotCitrus Wed 13-Aug-14 13:10:31

No idea if this will help, but you know how trains are man-made and go at 150 mph just fine? It's like that only riding air instead of rails, and no other planes to bump into because there's so much room.

I make a cosy den out of my seat and a blanket and pullout a book that I'm desperate to read, and let someone else concentrate on where to go.

maddy68 Wed 13-Aug-14 13:10:59

My dad has his pilots licence as do many members of my family. I allow my kids in the planes with my family members. That's how safe flying is

Air cabin crew get on those planes every day for their jobs. Do you think they would put themselves at risk?

There is far more chance of you being killed on the journey to the airport than in the plane

My husband is no fan of flying and he won't go with my relatives but he will go to avoid a divorce for a holiday He found booking onto a flight simulator helped. Groupon very often has deals. I got one for him for around £40. It has helped him as he got to fly a plane and he knew what controls were in place should something untoward happen. He's far happier flying now

Coolas Wed 13-Aug-14 13:14:51

I just love the sensation of soaring over the trees and into the sky and wondering about all the lives of those people I fly over. Plus it's so nice and speedy ... Imagine having to go that distance by train or car...

OnIlkleyMoorBahTwat Wed 13-Aug-14 13:17:40

There are thousands and thousands of flights every day, around the world.

Almost every day, every single one of them gets where it is going, without incident.

There are only a handful or so of crashes involving commercial aircraft world wide each year, out of millions of flights.

Statistically you have more chance of winning the lottery than dying in an aircrash (probably, but its that sort of odds).

Once you get to the airport, the most dangerous part of your journey is over.

Most of flying aircraft is automated these days, with multiple backup systems.

It's really not worth worrying about smile.

sunflower49 Wed 13-Aug-14 13:18:41

Thanks notcitrus that makes sense. How do they stay in control though-sorry if this is totally 'rookie' a question, but, why don't they tip over onto their side or headfirst?

I am going to take a book, and probably get a bit drunk

Maddy both my cousins have pilots licenses, as does my Mum's ex boss and good friend. I have been up in their private jets and was not scared, at all in the slightest. Would do it again in a heartbeat. Those light aircrafts do not scare me at all!

I can only think the difference is I am sitting very close to the pilot, I know them, I trust them, and those flights are not that high and not for very long!

The air cabin crew thing yes-that IS one thing I consider when I'm feeling nervous. As is the fact that my Aunt lives abroad and my Mother is not at all scared to get on a 24 hour flight to go and see her, nobody else I know is scared of flying, apart from my Father.

Flight simulator-I have never heard of that! Going to look that up.

On a side note, my Father-who for note is a very intelligent, rational man mostly, says if anybody isn't scared of flying, they're stupid.

*I don't think this!

magicalmrmistofelees Wed 13-Aug-14 13:24:09

I used to be scared of flying, but due to living abroad and all my family living in the UK I had to do it often! I don't know what happened to stop the fear, I think maybe it's just the fact that I've done it so many times without anything bad happening IYKWIM?! Still don't love it, it's just a necessary evil. My brother died in a car accident at 27 so I'm much more scared of driving now.

insanityscratching Wed 13-Aug-14 13:25:19

I'm not scared of flying because if there is a disaster (statistically a very very small chance) death will be quick and I don't imagine I'd have long to contemplate it. I'm more scared of drowning so not keen about being on a boat although do go on ferries etc but a cruise would be my idea of hell.

sunflower49 Wed 13-Aug-14 13:27:08

Magical sorry to hear that sad flowers

Yes I see what you mean. I am now trying to think of something I used to be scared of which I am now not. I'm generally not scared of many things, really?!I think I'm the sort of person who trusts themselves and believes in themselves-but in flying, I'm totally out of control.

coolas to be honest, if I had the option of going by car or even train, I totally would do that. I'd rather spend the time than me so scared for a few hours-but I am hoping this thread will help change that.

Ilkley (I'm from near there, brilliant name!), that handful is what scares me!I'm so much more scared of that than crashing my car. I've been in a RTA albeit not a serious one, and it really had very little impact on me. It was just like, right, we're stationary, is everyone okay, can we all get out...etc then went to check the other vehicle which caused the crash, very rational, dealt with the driver who was okay but trapped, told him to stay put I'd call the emergency services-I was a bit wobbly but very slightly, never affected me-straight back in the car the next day whereas I know others have been a little traumatised after similar incidents-a friend of mine was in a less serious one and didn't drive for months!I don't know why I'm so scared of planes.

Dancergirl Wed 13-Aug-14 13:30:36

The 'safest form of transport' thing, I get. I really do!But, I always think that if I crash in my car I'm not definitely going to die or not recover from my injuries, whereas if you crash in a plane you're pretty screwed aren't you

This is EXACTLY how I feel.

Another nervous flyer here, watching with interest.

sunflower49 Wed 13-Aug-14 13:30:40

Insanity I imagine plane crash deaths to be a long process-and I know that's wrong, is it true that you'd suffocate before you even knew what was happening?

My brain conjures up lovely images of plummeting for miles before finally landing in the sea and being eaten by sharks..Or being terrified for ages knowing pending death was soon...And other such ridiculous things. And also, because to me It's never necessary It's just for selfish, pleasure seeking reasons, I feel I sort of deserve something to go wrong?

Dancergirl Wed 13-Aug-14 13:52:02

We've just flown back from Rome. The descent was horrible for me, lots of turbulence and really bumpy. I'm embarrassed to say I was so scared I nearly burst into tears blush

I really want to do a fear of flying course. I think if I understand better about turbulence and flying in general I might feel more relaxed.

Dancergirl Wed 13-Aug-14 13:54:54

Sorry OP I didn't mean to hijack your post. I know my fears are illogical.

I agree it helps to think of all those thousands of flights that happen every day of the year.

Vintagebeads Wed 13-Aug-14 13:56:48

Could it be all the recent bad press to do with planes if its a recent phobia?

I fly alot and when I get off a plane and get in my car with so many nutters driving around I reminds me how safe flying is.
Allow lots of time so your not rushing.
Take an ipod or something to distract you and lots of deep breaths.
Enjoy your

specialsubject Wed 13-Aug-14 14:03:17

BTW if you are thousands of MILES up you are going to the moon!

you are much much safer flying than you are driving or crossing the road. You feel less safe flying because you don't have any control. Driving, you think you are safer because you have the wheel. You aren't. You are in FAR more danger.


About 1700 people were killed on the UK's roads in 2012. According to Wikipedia, since 1923 there have been about 53,000 people killed in or as a result of air accidents. That is a little under 600 per year WORLDWIDE. You don't hear much about the car accidents because they are so common.

obviously these statistics come in big lumps, they are of no comfort to the victims' families and yes, if the plane comes down you are unlikely 'just' to be injured, although it has happened.

there are a couple of things that you can do to increase your chances if you are in a survivable air accident.

1 - listen to the safety briefing and work out where the exits are in relation to you.
2 - wear suitable clothing to allow you to move easily. Not high heels or silly tight clothes.

remember that the guy at the front who does have the wheel is just as interested in getting home safely.

enjoy your holiday.

BertieBotts Wed 13-Aug-14 14:08:49

I don't think about "what if it crashes" etc. I just assume that it won't. I know realistically if the plane crashed that would be it, but I tend to think, well, if that happened then I'd be dead so I wouldn't care. I don't think about what might happen in the few seconds before realising it was happening and dying. I just won't let myself think about that, I would like to think that it would be very quick and you would barely be aware and I am not interested in finding out any information otherwise. I'm more scared about being in a car crash TBH, or anything else where you're really injured but alive.

I always pick a person who looks experienced, usually a man in a suit, and if I hear a worrying noise or there's a worrying movement I look at them and see they are perfectly calm and then I don't worry. And just like I do on underground trains I remind myself "it's just noise, a noise can't hurt you, you wouldn't be scared if you couldn't hear it".

I find it really exciting to take off, that feeling is just quite incredible, and looking out of the plane window to the clouds is amazing too, and seeing the ground on take off/landing, being able to see the whole town below you.

sunflower49 Wed 13-Aug-14 14:10:22

Dancergirl It's fine and nice to know I am not alone at the moment!
I am finding this website helpful-maybe you will too?

Thanks vintage.

I've put myself in some really dodgy situations in the past with driving as a teenager (drink driving boyfriends etc) and I was never scared, cars don't bother me-I know that's bloody stupid to think about it.

specialist grin

Thanks for the advice smile

I apologise but thinking of 600 folk dying on aircraft every year has just made me think 'Yup I'll be one of them'!

CastilianHhhhidalgo Wed 13-Aug-14 14:10:52

The 'safest form of transport' thing, I get. I really do!But, I always think that if I crash in my car I'm not definitely going to die or not recover from my injuries, whereas if you crash in a plane you're pretty screwed aren't you

Although it seems like this would be the case the majority of accidents involving planes don't have any fatalities.

For example in 2012 there were 75 accidents but only 15 of those had any fatalities. The most common type of accident was planes leaving the runway during take off or landing. There were 6 accidents involving western-built jets which resulted in hull losses (i.e. the plane being beyond repair or uneconomical to repair) and none of those were with any of the airlines who are members of IATA. Out of those 6 only 3 had fatalities.

Almost 3 billion people flew in 2012, on 37.5 million flights. Over the whole year there were 414 fatalities. 414 out of 3 billion.

Flying really is ridiculously safe!

riverboat1 Wed 13-Aug-14 14:24:23

Someone once explained to me the basic physics of flying, and how planes stay up. I forget all the detail but it was very convincing. It's like paper aeroplanes - you have to force them up into the air (like a plane using engines to take off) but once up, they glide along for a while and are incapable of just suddenly plummeting to the ground vertically midflight. It's just physics.

I think even if a plane loses engine power, it can glide for ages and do all sorts of things to get the engines going again before you're really in trouble.

Also, every time there is a crash, the airlines and pilots learn from it and adjust their training and procedures accordingly to make sure that problem will never happen again.

Something I've found useful is to watch videos of commercial aircraft doing stunts at airshows. There are loads on YouTube, and it shows just what high tolerances these aircraft have. Seeing an airbus do a vertical takeoff, for example, makes me feel a lot better about its ability to handle a little turbulence!

SageYourResoluteOracle Wed 13-Aug-14 14:51:56

Okay- how about approaching this from a different angle? I'm not scared of flying but I have other anxieties about different things including very long escalators, blood and being at the theatre or cinema watching something that is freaking me out and worrying that I won't be able to escape before fainting. There's a particularly hilarious episode of The Inbetweeners where Will faints at the cinema. Painfully funny as I've been there. Anyway, I digress.

Knowing the stats that people have posted, try taking something like Rescue Remedy (I know, I know. It is possibly the placebo effect but it always seems to help me) making sure you have a way of 'escaping' such as a good book and see if you can have some distracting or relaxing music on an iPod/similar to distract you too. Small amount of booze may help but too much could add to anxiety, IMHO. Also, I've used visualisation in the past to get me through anxiety inducing situations. So, I've imagined myself doing the thing I'm not comfortable with, I've focused on my 'strategy', if you like, of taking rescue remedy, breathing well (but not excessively) popping headphones on etc. British Airways now allow you to have electronic devices on for take off and landing. Dunno if this has all been any use but good luck to you.

Nancy66 Wed 13-Aug-14 14:53:51

Do you seriously think you ever have a chance of winning the lottery - odds being about 13million to 1?

No? Then you also can't seriously believe you will ever die in a plane crash as odds are very similar

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