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Anyone Scared of Flying?!

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Alanslegal

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Jun 22, 2007
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Hello Everyone!
As much as I love to travel I hate the thought of flying! I make at least 2 trips overseas each year and another 10+ flights interstate, however I'm still scared / paranoid of flying!
I just returned from Thailand and am heading to the Big Apple (NYC) next month. Further I have travel plans for November to visit Singapore then December to go to NZ. But WHY do I still get scared?
Firstly, I hate turbulence!! I feel like the plane would just fall out of the sky! (but then again, I'm quite a chicken and am reluctant to go on thrill rides such as those at Dreamworld GC). On my return flight from BKK to Sydney, we hit so much turbulence my hands get sweaty! and I keep cursing myself!

Secondly, I watch those "Air Crash Investigation" series on TV and it doubles my fear of flying.

Just wondering if anyone else is like me? or if there are any tips which could make me less scared / paranoid of flying?

When I get a bit paranoid, I try to think of objective thoughts that "it's statistically safer to fly than drive" and that "there's so much flights every day, day in and day out and nothing happens".

But I keep on thinking about the tragedies that have occurred in the past, and not just thoughts on smaller airlines, even SIA had that tragedy at Taiwan in 2001 when the plane took off the wrong runway!
 

SeaWolf

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Jan 24, 2007
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Personally, I love watching Air Crash Investigations and I'm not fussed by turbulance at all. However, I have watched people gripping the seats in fear when things start getting rough, so I certainly know that some people don't handle it as well as others. You're certainly not alone.

Most of the major airlines run "Fear of Flying" courses that are designed to help people who suffer from anxiety when flying. These course are run professionally with psychologists and I think most people probably get a fair bit of benefit from them, so you might want to enquire about them and give one of them a try. I've included a few links for you below:
QANTAS:
Fearless Flyers Inc with Qantas
Virgin Atlantic:
fear of flying - Virgin flying without fear course

Some self-help resources:
Fear of Flying Help Course: Fast Free Online Program! - Fear of Flying, Aviophobia, Aerophobia
 

NM

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SeaWolf said:
Personally, I love watching Air Crash Investigations and I'm not fussed by turbulance at all. However, I have watched people gripping the seats in fear when things start getting rough, so I certainly know that some people don't handle it as well as others. You're certainly not alone.
I agree. Air Crash Investigations is one of my favourite shows - its a shame they don't include it in the IFE programming :eek: . I have often wondered what other passengers and crew would think if I loaded several episodes onto my laptop for in-flight viewing :shock: .

And out of all the Air Crash Investigation shows I have watched, air disaster books I have read and accident reports I have followed, I can't recall any crashes that were caused by air turbulence while at cruising altitude. Certainly there are cases of wind sheer being a factor at low altitude and there are plenty of cases where passengers have been injured during severe turbulence, which is why I always keep my seatbelt fastened when seated, including while sleeping.

I find the thoroughness of the investigations very reassuring to know the extent to which the investigators go to identify the causes (plural since most air crashes are due to a number of factors) and to minimise the chances of the same thing happening again.
 

trooper

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I used to be VERY scared of flying..... so tell me why I took up Skydiving? (I dunno.. suspect I just don't like being a "passenger"....once you LEFT the a/c YOU were back in control??)

Even after 1000 jumps I still screwed my eyes shut and did deep breathing exercises until we reached 1000ft AGL (if anything went wrong then I would've been out the door!:D )

I am MUCH more relaxed now after a goodly number of long duration commercial flights.... but I still "sit back" and breathe deeply for the takeoff and climb out..... after that I'm fine...

That;s it for me... just deep breathing and conscious efforts to relax and enjoy the experience...

And I'm definitely with NM on the aircrash investigation thing... look on it as "well THAT is never going to be a problem again"!

P.S. I've been flying Y+ with NZ recently... and the "post takeoff" drink.. which they ask you about BEFORE takeoff... certainly doesn't hurt!!!;)
 

SF&

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I grip the seats in bad turbulunce and start cursing under my breath!!

i will never fly sky west again!! BME to DWN never ever ever!!!
 

Va Bene

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Oct 16, 2006
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I often heard the quote "I don't have a fear of flying......I have a fear of crashing".

Personally after more than 10 years of regular flying, I still get the jitters when the 'ding' goes in mid flight and the seat belt sign comes up. Slow breathing, red wine, a good book, focus on something you enjoy doing etc all helps for me.
There are heaps of sites on Google for fear of flying. For example, the one below.

Fear of Flying: Symptoms, Medical Issues, and Treatment

with one quote:
Statistics do not help because the fear of flying actually has little to do with risk as such. If the fear of flying were actually caused by the potential for an accident, then everyone who fears to fly would be even more afraid—29 times more afraid, to be statistically exact—to drive or ride in an automobile
 

winetraveller

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I loooooove turbulance, it's like a free rollercoaster ride.

I have had a couple of bumpy rides recently, and on LH coming into BKK last month the pilot was going to overshoot the runway and had to take off again, and come around. That surprised a few people.

In Feb I was on a Continental flight from Houston to West Palm Beach that got really rocked about by a storm, that was fun.

I've had a few interesting flights in the former Soviet Union, water pouring from the ceiling, amazing amounts of creaking and groaning. Once took off from Sofia, Bulgaria during the Kosovo war in 1999, the day after a U.S. cruise missile went astray and landed in Sofia, which is not far from ther Kosovo border. The pilot (Malev, Hungarian) must have been an ex Hungarian fighter pilot, because as soon as we were off the ground he turned at the most fierce angle to ensure we weren't going near to Yugoslav airspace. Everybody thought they were going to die.
 

serfty

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I hate it when the seat belt signs come on due to turbulence. :evil:

It means it's gunna be that much longer before I can obtain my next HP (or equivalent) :p .
 

SeaWolf

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SF& said:
i will never fly sky west again!! BME to DWN never ever ever!!!
I've done that flight, on the way back heading into BME I thought the women seated across the aisle from me was going to be sick, she went as white as a sheet! But the view on the way in is just awesome and it's actually a pretty nice airport to have a stop in on the way back to PER.
 

littl_flier

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winetraveller said:
I loooooove turbulence, it's like a free rollercoaster ride.
I agree, it adds some fun and adrenaline to an otherwise ordinary cityflyer sector.

Seriously though, watching Air Crash Investigations puts my mind at ease. The chances of anything happening are extremely remote and I feel safer in the air than driving in Bangkok.

The only time I've been scared was in a little Fairchild Metroliner (picture here) when it started to get a bit bumpy. The cabin is so small and I was sitting down the back, and felt really claustrophobic. Eeeck! :shock:

I have a mate who is really scared of flying and 30 minutes out on BNE on the way to AKL last year, the plane did a sudden drop after the captain announced we were expecting some severe turbulance in the next 30 seconds and to hold on tight. That was an interesting moment and my mate needed some good consoling from his girlfriend. ;) For me, it just added to the adventure and overall adrenaline rush that NZ offers. :p
 

trooper

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Va Bene.... Love your little "29X" quote...

I know people who refuse to fly cos "It's not safe".... yet they will DRIVE astounding distances instead (eg: Atlanta to Albuquerque!!!!!:shock: )... to attend the same events that took me a few hours to fly to! well.. a few hores not counting the SYD-AKL-LAX part! :D
 

jakeseven7

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I think I have a unique condition lol.... Turbulence in the air (high up is fine) but anything near the ground when landing will get white knuckles from me....

I've been scarred by a couple of very windy stormy Wellington landings - apparanty the worst airport for weather in the world.... (aborted landings, sliding sideways and bouncing down the runway). Half the plane was screaming in terror on those two - not a nice experience.

I do however feel much moresafe on QF with it's record and safety standards, than with other airlines such as Thai. You couldn't PAY me enough to fly the uber dodgy ones like Garuda et co, I'd rather walk/swim.
 

trooper

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I beleive youtube has a whole section of clips of WLG landings.....:)shock: )
 

JohnK

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Sometimes I don't feel comfortable in a confined metal tube in the sky. I try to relax and think of getting to the destination. Not sure if this is a fear of flying or claustrophobia....

SF& said:
i will never fly sky west again!! BME to DWN never ever ever!!!
I did that route in March but I think it was with Air North. If I remember correctly I managed to sleep for most of the flight and missed the nice scenery which was not visible anyway due to bad weather.
 

simongr

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I really dont understand the fear of flying (much in the same way that other people don't understand my fear of edges - put me in a glider 5,000 ft in the air and I am fine - stand me on the edge of a table and I am very nervous).

I dont even think about the flying aspect now - sometimes when the take off is a little hairy (cross winds coming out of Beijing recently) I will look up/out but half the time its a struggle to keep my eyes open on take of...
 

vt01

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simongr said:
I really dont understand the fear of flying (much in the same way that other people don't understand my fear of edges - put me in a glider 5,000 ft in the air and I am fine - stand me on the edge of a table and I am very nervous).
I'm the same.. I don't care about heights while in a plane but do not like the edges of cliffs over certain heights.. I think it's got something to do with fear of falling.. If there's a fence it's also ok..

As for turbulence, I love it.. great to go to sleep. Possibly because being a private pilot and only flying small 4 - 6 seaters you really feel the turbulence! And i've flown through some really bumpy stuff and lots of cross wind landings.
I think it's the difference to understanding what's going on and how the pilot and plane respond.
To me a flight without turbulence is boring.. Oh except when it gets bad enough to stop the drink service!
 

Evan

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Dec 26, 2006
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vt01, like watching (if you can see the wings) how the different planes software using the control surfaces to reduce stress on the plane and provide a smoother ride, its amazing how good it is. Boeing and Airbus do it in different ways.

I was in a QF landing end of last year at NRT that was through a typhoon ! it rained so much that the trains to Tokyo (Narita Express and others) had to stop mid track ! I spend the night on the train and in Tokyo train terminal, slept on seats with quiet a few others. (Missed my connections down south until 5:30am the next morning)

Anyway there was some people sick on that landing, but the landing was great, the pilot must have been really good, i was impressed.

I am so not scared of flying i sleep doing take off sometimes... amazed the presure change didn't wake me, especially since it annoys me a lot.

E
 

ditto

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Oct 3, 2005
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My partner and I both have a fear of flying - both borne of in flight incidents. Hers - one near mid air collision and mine on an AA domestic flight when we veered and dived rapidly about 45 deg to the left, levelled off and then did the same to the right. Pilot, very cavalier, made an announcement about 5 minutes later to say that 'you may have noticed we were doing some aerial exercises' - b#*!@*^t!!!! - that was 21 years ago and I still won't fly on an US airline.

And of course we both watch 'air crash investigation' which just defies logic really. However, we feel we will be well equipped to assist in a host of possible disaster scenarios should they happen!

How to overcome it - who knows! Personally, I just love to travel and I think if you give into one fear then it will escalate to you not being able to go out of your home. We don't fly on dodgy or real el cheapo airlines and we try to focus on where we are going and what we are going to enjoy when we get there. I look forward to the 'ding' after takeoff when the crew can get up. My other focus is keeping my partner's mind off takeoff, in flight and landing, so I am pretty much occupied.

My partner's rationale is that if I am going to go down in a plane crash she wants to be sitting right beside me. Fortunately for me, the tactic 'well, I can always go alone' gets her on the plane everytime and she is always glad she went.

I didn't do the QF fear of flying course but read the associated book 'the Fearless Flier's handbook' by Debbie Seaman - answered all my questions.

Good luck
 

Mal

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simongr said:
I really dont understand the fear of flying (much in the same way that other people don't understand my fear of edges - put me in a glider 5,000 ft in the air and I am fine - stand me on the edge of a table and I am very nervous).
It's amazing how common the 'fear of edges/falling' actually is.
 

straitman

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Just remember the Pilot is not going to do anything that's going to hurt himself. He just wants to go home so he can have a beer also. :rolleyes: :D

If he's OK then the passengers are OK also :!:
 
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