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To be afraid of flying?

88 replies

WhatLizzyDid · 21/07/2017 21:53

First world problem I know! I'm very lucky to be going on my holidays in a few days (Algarve) with DH and DC and I can feel myself becoming more and more anxious the closer it gets. I daren't google 'how safe is flying' or 'how safe is Jet2' in case I find something bad. I am really worried I will have a panic attack on the plane and frighten my DC. I can't bear the flimsiness of the aeroplane. The way the wings shake, the boucyness of flying feels so pricsrious.
I have flown before but the anxiety seems to get worse as I get older. Any tips?

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Moonshine86 · 21/07/2017 21:55

I am exactly the same and I have had a panic attack on a plane!

I have learnt to control my anxiety but still have a diazepam - it settles my nerves.


WhatLizzyDid · 21/07/2017 22:01

Actually I've just remembered someone mentioned a technique in which you convince yourself you are excited rather than nervous. Apparently the bodily responses are similar. Not sure how realistic this is and obviously not for anything as serious as a panic attack

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WhatLizzyDid · 21/07/2017 22:02

Moonshine how do you control your anxiety?

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boggedoff · 21/07/2017 22:09

if you look at \link{,54.02/5\flight radar 24} you can see how many planes are in the sky now and there are thousands. they all travel about safely. i do love flying but also love tracking airplanes and watching take off/landings on youtube.

Pilots are trained for all possibilities you are safer in the air than on the ground..:)

WhatLizzyDid · 21/07/2017 22:18

Thank you boggedoff Flowers

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WhatLizzyDid · 21/07/2017 22:20

Wow flight radar 24 is incredible!

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BitchQueen90 · 21/07/2017 22:23

I'm the same but I'm pretty good at thinking logically when I'm up in the air. Think of the pilots and flight attendants that fly every single day without incident.

Did my longest flight yet in November at 5 and a half hours, I'm trying to psyche myself up to do a transatlantic one soon because flying over the ocean is when I'm most afraid. Think of what's coming at the end of the flight, a lovely relaxing holiday.

My DM is the same and always has a couple of drinks before flying to settle her nerves Grin unfortunately I can't do this as I have young DS.

boggedoff · 21/07/2017 22:33

it is lizzy. I am sad but also track the planes routes I am going to take and track them when I get home to see the route taken. I also like to look out the window with my phone mapping on to see where i am. It's incredible and fun and really should be marvelled at! it's amazing what humans have accomplished and flying it fantastic!

mogulfield · 21/07/2017 22:33

It's interesting you mention 'how safe is jet2', my DH flies for them and as industry standards go they are incredibly safe; only employ pilots with significant experience and are strict regarding hours, fatigue and so on! Also don't do stupid things to their pilots like put them on zero hours contracts (Ryan air).
In fact he's flying right now (back from Alicante), and I'm more worried about his car journey home from the airport.
It's really so very routine and ordinary for him. I don't say this to make you feel bad, (I am scared of flying a bit as well!!) but just to add some perspective.

boggedoff · 21/07/2017 22:35

i flew back from Turkey last year and we passed over Venice, you could literally see the shape of the canals etc, also flying over Switzerland is especially magically. I can't get why people don't like to look out the windows :) knowledge is power. enjoy your holiday but especially enjoy the flight!

lazycrazyhazy · 21/07/2017 22:36

My DIL used to take Valium before she flew. Do try to work out an approach before flying. I was recently on a flight which had to be aborted as we were taxiiing as a child of about 12 was having a panic attack and the mother said she had to take him off. Their luggage had to be off loaded so it was a considerable delay which for me was a shame but was catastrophic for the chap next to me who missed the last connection to get home on a Friday night from a business trip. Breathing exercises?

I'm claustrophobic so I do sympathise with phobias.

My friend went on a course run by BA which helped her and there is online help too e.g.

lazycrazyhazy · 21/07/2017 22:38

Bogged: the answer may be clsustrophobia. I can only sit in the aisle and know several others the same. Shame about the view though. Must get a private plane!

WhatLizzyDid · 21/07/2017 22:44

mogulfield we are flying Jet2 so this makes me feel really good about that. Thank you so much Flowers

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EnormousDormouse · 21/07/2017 22:44

Get some diazepam from your GP, it's a beta blocker and stops you being able to work yourself into a panic. I used it once, then took it with me once as a backup, and now (several years later) actually enjoy flying. This is also because it's become more 'normal' for me as I have to do a minimum of 3 long haul flights year, plus hols and short local hops. You can do this !!

WhatLizzyDid · 21/07/2017 22:47

lazy ah that does make sense! I freak out in crowded places. Especially when there is no "escape" like on a moving train that is rammed with passengers or when exits are bocked by crowds.

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WhatLizzyDid · 21/07/2017 22:49

enourmousdoormouse yes I might try and get to see my GP before I go. Thank you

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Backinthebox · 21/07/2017 22:49

What exactly makes you so afraid? I'm an airline pilot and I wouldn't be able to go to work if I thought there was any danger to me. I'm aware that planes do crash (I've had a lot of training in the causes of accidents and how to avoid that kind of thing!) but I am more concerned about my drive to work along the motorway in terms of potential danger.

Although you may find the movement of the wings worrying, they are designed with tremendous flexibility. Rigid, brittle things are much more likely to break under pressure than flexible things. The wings of my Boeing airliner have been tested over and over again - they are very strong wings and the movement in them is all part of the design.

As for the bounciness of the plane, imagine the plane is more like a little boat on waves. It's designed to be there, it's not bothered by the waves. No matter what the waves do, a boat is designed to ride over them, and although it may feel bouncy, it's just riding over them. There are waves in the air, changes in wind direction, lots of things that can cause movement of an air mass that will cause the plane to bob about. It's not a problem to the plane, it's very strong (as I've already said.) It's meant to be up there. The aerodynamics of an aircraft mean that it wants to fly. It's happier up in the air. The biggest problems with planes don't happen up in the air, no matter how much they bounce around. The ground is the thing that is most likely to cause damage to a plane. As pilots we train and train again to practise take offs and landings in all kinds of ways - what happens if the wind changes direction, what happens if an engine stops part way through take off, or if you hit a bird, or if the runway is slippery because it's snowed. Lots of things we train for, so that we are prepared for all kinds of situations.

Anything you want to ask, go ahead, and I'll try to answer.

ExplodedCloud · 21/07/2017 22:51

I've got much, much worse with parenthood and age. I can get on a flight with diazepam. I don't become a zombie. I wouldn't drive on it though :) Just makes things feel less 'there'.

Esmereldafish · 21/07/2017 22:56

I am also a very nervous flyer! My DC is desperate to go on an aeroplane but I just can't bring myself to do it. It's not the fear of flying that gets me, it's the fear of a few minutes drop back to earth knowing you are doomed if anything did go wrong up there! Blush misses point of trying to reassure OP

WhatLizzyDid · 21/07/2017 23:01

Backinthebox Thank you! I really like the boat analogy. Can you tell me whether the plane is checked between flights and if so what sort of checks are carried out?

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WhatLizzyDid · 21/07/2017 23:02

It's so nice to know it's not just me Wink

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Backinthebox · 21/07/2017 23:24

Yes, before every flight both a pilot and a trained pushback operative do a full external visual check of the aircraft. The other pilot will be in the cockpit checking various systems up there and programming the aircraft's computers ready for flight. Engineers give the aircraft a more thorough check over each day too - between every flight for long haul aircraft and once a day for short haul aircraft. Effectively a passenger plane gets an MOT every day. Oils and tyres are checked, engine hours are monitored, warning systems are tested, lots of things. They are also subjected to even more stringent checks on a once a month basis. Engineering rules are very strict.

MrsPorth · 21/07/2017 23:29

I like the notion of an aircraft "wanting to fly" I think that's lovely.

mogulfield · 21/07/2017 23:29

lizzy just to reinforce jet2s standards (I don't work for them, honest!) the walk around that back is referring to is completed by the captain, they don't even let the first officer do it!
(I often ask DH how was Dubrovnik/Ibiza etc, his response 'didn't even get out the aircraft!)

Ladybirdbookworm · 21/07/2017 23:30

Ooh Back in the box I loved that post.

I used to be cabin crew for BA and my dd is crew as well .
I felt safer in the air than I ever did on the tube.
Jet 2 have an excellent safety record . I can honestly say that I've seen passengers in Africa boarding aircraft that look like they've been through a war zone and will never get off the ground - yet they do and then you take a look at our British aircraft that are so well maintained, safe and comfortable and just think wow why do people worry .
Have a large gin and tonic , look out of the window on take off and try to relax into your seat and go with the aircraft movement instead of sitting rigid and it really does help.
Have a lovely holiday

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