Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fear of Flying

I was flying home Sunday night when my wife told me she was nervous about me flying.  Then she asked me if I still had life insurance.  Oops!  I remembered that my Term Life had just expired and I'm embarrassed to say that I hadn't renewed it yet.  This planted the seed of fear.

At the airport, the monitors indicated my flight was on time.  As we waited for the previous passengers to disembark, the first off was a women in a wheel chair pushed by two paramedics.  She was obviously distressed and had some sort of medical emergency. 

A little bit later, a man in silky white "pajamas" and a big white Afro wig (it looked like a large football helmet) got off the airplane.

Then there was the announcement:  Our flight was being delayed due to engine troubles. 

That was it - three omens feeding the seed of fear.  I sent a text message to my family "I love you" and reminded myself about all of the statistics I read about how safe flying is.

We finally boarded and the captain told us that an indicator light went off for the actuator on the thrust reversers.  That didn't sound too bad.  It would only matter during landing and the chances of surviving a crash during landing seemed much better than falling out of the sky.  The captain said he would try to make up the lost time, but he would have to fly around bad weather.

We hit the bad weather later and it was probably the worst turbulence I've ever experienced.  I stopped reading my book as it was impossible to hold it still.  I reached to turn off the light but couldn't hold my finger steady enough.  I had to hold both hands up, push against the console, and then inch towards the off button.  I figured if this was the end, it would probably be nice and quick.

We got out of the bad weather and the flight was smooth again.  I reminded myself that I had been correct in trusting in the safety statistics.  The captain then announced that "we were out of the bad weather, for now, but to remain seated as the next patch of weather would probably be worse".  Thankfully it wasn't worse.

I finished my book and we had a safe landing.

When I got off the airplane, my legs and butt were very sore from sitting so long.  I was reminded of a news article I read recently that said "sitting can kill you".  So maybe all of the sitting during air travel is what can kill you. 

P.S.  If you're really afraid of flying and don't find the statistics comforting enough, you might consider this course http://www.fearofflyinghelp.com/

1 comment:

sandi said...

our last flight to california was really turbulent too! I actually screamed and many children were staring at me funny. i really do have a fear of flying...its gotten worse over the years...i will look at your link. by the way, congrats on being an grandpa!-sandi