I admit it, I am afraid to fly. And Im not alone, as many as 1 in 6 adults has at least some fears about flying. For me its definitely not a rational fear. In fact all my analytical and logical skills fly right out the window whenever I think about getting on a commercial plane. The most amazing part is that I grew up flying. My father owns a small plane and we would go flying every weekend.
In my preteen years I had an aborted takeoff during a commercial flight and while it didnít scare me at all during the event, when I later found out that it had made the local news I began to see that this was perhaps a bigger deal (it really wasnít but I was a preteen after all). I also began to recognize my own mortality and realized that I am a control freak and donít enjoy the thought of putting my life in the hands of pilots I donít know.
However, Iím gradually working my way out of my fears and back into a state of mind that is not afraid. Itís taking me a lot of time, but I make progress everyday.
My first technique is to get a large inside picture of a commercial plane (preferably one that Iíll be flying in soon) and make it the background image of my computer desktop. This way, every time I get on my computer Iím looking toward the front of an airplane as if I am a passenger. Initially this worked so well my pulse would race and my breathing rate went up. Iíve now conditioned myself to seeing that image so it no longer bothers me.
I also like to watch internet videos of planes taking off and landing. My favorite videos are those that are taken from inside the plane, looking out the window at the wing; hearing the roar of the engines and seeing the ground fall away beneath the plane as it rises upon takeoff. Sitting in my recliner with headphones on and watching those videos enables me to participate in a takeoff without actually being on the plane. I can condition myself to the sights and sounds I would normally experience.
Iíve found several helpful online courses designed to give information to fearful flyers. I use them a lot as I get closer to departure, and Iíve bought every book I can find about conquering oneís fear of flying. I take them with me, I read them often.
I donít watch news clips or specials about airplane crashes. The media sensationalizes airplane crashes simply because they happen so rarely. That also means they repeat that horrific story over and over, scaring the wits out of unsuspecting people.
There are dozens of helpful statistics about the safety of air travel; The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says your chances of being in a fatal plane crash are anywhere from 1 in 400,000 to 1 in 10 million depending on the airline youíre flying. To someone who has a genuine fear of flying those numbers donít mean anything when youíre locked in a steel tube with no way of setting foot on the ground until AFTER youíve gone through takeoff, landing and turbulence.
I recognise that I need help and am trying to look at air travel from a logical perspective again. Each trip I hope to get a little better. If you are suffering from a similar fear, I encourage you to go through the various online resources available and seek additional professional help if your fears are strong enough and you are unable to get through them on your own. Its ok.
We can get through this and learn to enjoy (or at least tolerate) this means of travel in order to take that awesome vacation, see family or fulfil the requirements of a great job.