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There have been some less than flattering headlines about airlines recently. If you’re not a child that gets turned away at the gate because of a ridiculous dress code or a doctor that gets violently dragged off of the plane, then you’re a woman who gets hit by a flight attendant while holding your baby. Fun stuff. I’ve only flown a handful of times in my life, and I’m not thrilled about the fact that I have to do it again soon. Yes, recent news doesn’t help, but honestly flying could be like it used to back in the 60s and I’d still hate it because I’m terrified to fly. I haven’t been a vacation in a long time, and it will be nice to get away, but the flight there and back is tampering that excitement somewhat.
There are a lot of places I’d like to visit in the world, and I understand that flying is a necessary evil when it comes to being a seasoned traveler, but that doesn’t make it any better. I researched the statistics and the percentage of people who have a fear of flying seems very low to me (apparently it’s about 25%), but there must be more people who have no problem trusting a giant hunk of metal with their lives than I thought. I’ve read all the tips that are supposed to ease my fears and I can say with full confidence that they’re all garbage. They all seem to boil down to a few main points:
I don’t think the pilot is some blithering idiot who’s going to unintentionally going to steer the plane into the side of a mountain, so I don’t know what this is supposed to mean. Sometimes stuff happens and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. There’s really only so much that any person, pilot or not, can control while they’re thousands of feet up in the air. It’s not an issue of distrust on my part, it’s just that I know how to stay in my lane. I’m a land animal, and I’m fine with that. Have you ever seen an eagle decide to get its license so it can cruise around in a sedan? You have not. Did you know that there’s a theory that Amelia Earhart crash landed on an island and was eaten to death by giant crabs? I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened to her if she had decided to take a nice long walk around the block instead.
They’re called “irrational fears” for a reason! It’s not like I think the plane is just going to drop out of the sky, and I’ve seen all the statistics about how I’m more likely to be trampled to death by an ostrich while being hit by lightning eighty times than die in a plane crash and blah blah blah. That’s not the point. Rudimentary physics knowledge isn’t going to help me here. Facts don’t have a great track record when it comes changing people’s long-held beliefs, now do they? I also have an irrational fear of fish, and that makes even less sense. Is there a fish on this earth that poses any real, immediate threat to me? Of course not. And yet, one glimpse at this thing has me in tears.
Granted, that’s an exceptionally scary fish that will freak a lot of people out, but I’ll think about it every time I go to the beach and it’ll keep me from venturing further out into the ocean than ankle deep water. That thing is an affront to nature, and just getting that one image for this post will probably give me nightmares. I don’t even really know what it is specifically, but I’m going to call it the Trumpfish, because it’s vile, and I want it as far away from me as possible. That Trumpfish is the physical encapsulation of everything I feel about flying, and believe me I’ve tried, but logic has yet to make any dent in that.
Isn’t this basically acknowledging that I’m going to be a nervous wreck and just deciding to lean into it? The whole time I’m distracting myself I’m going to know that I’m doing it because I’m supposed to be taking my mind off of how afraid I am, which means I’ll be thinking about how afraid I am the entire flight. Is that overthought to the point of being self-defeating? Almost definitely. Welcome to a small piece of my brain.
To sum up, flying is a waking nightmare and all of the advice I’ve ever heard about combatting the phobia is useless. However, I also know that people do it every day, and that someone must have tips that I can implement.
World travelers, what do I do?
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