I fear of flying. When I was a kid, I used to fly every month to traveling or visiting my grandparents which live in the different island. I loved traveling by plane; it was always fascinate me every time we were going by plane. Even I dreamt to become a pilot. But now, I turn to someone who fears of flying.
It started in 2007. My grandma passed away. My sister and I were going to grandma funeral which is thousand miles away from the place we lived. We went by plane and in the three quarter of flying; the flight attendant announced that we got to back to the departures airport because of there was something problem with the engine and the arrival airport had no mechanic that can fixed the plane so the captain pilot decided to back to the departure airport.
All the way back to departure airport, the plane was flying very low and the engine sound weird. The passenger was only half of the plane and we all just kept silent on the way back. Suddenly the atmosphere in the aircraft cabin changed. The flight attendant’s expression turned into worry. My heart was beating so fast and as I looked through the window, we were flying above the sea. Soon, I touched the life vest under my seat to make sure that if we fell to the sea, I would be ready to take and wore it. I also search for the nearest emergency exit which is located in the front door. I looked to the other passengers around me; we all felt the same, fear. Turbulences filled our flight. Finally we could landed (a bit) smooth, but we were all save.
My sister said I got to fight my fear of flying by keep traveling by plane and not change to the other kinda transportation. I still am traveling by plane until now, but it always freaking me out. Every time the pilot say, “flight attendant, take off position.” I always think, oh god, I don’t want this plane failed to take off. I fear that the navigation system breaks and we lost connection to the airport control tower, or all engine stops and the spare engines failed to work, or there’s a thunderstorms, or turbulences make the plane unstable, or human error, or the plane is unfit to fly, or something bad happen to the plane.
Since then, I always try to find the way to make my self calm when I got to traveling by plane. Here is some of my way to cope with it:
- I always choose to fly with big plane such as Boeing 737 or at least Fokker-28. Why? Because the bigger its plane, the less its turbulence. I hate turbulence but we can’t avoid it right?
- Find a trustful airline. How to indicate it’s trustful or not, I can see it from the reputation of aircrew, the company itself, how they maintain the aircraft, etc and sometimes I judge it from the price.
- Come two or three hour before the check-in time. This is very helpful because I can make myself calm while adaptation to the atmosphere of airport and around me.
- Take sleep pills and bring books or whatever that can help to distract your mind on the plane. I usually can’t fall asleep although I already take 2-3 pills, so I just bring a lot of funny comics and drink a lot of water to help me relax on the plane. If the flight attendant offer me any kinda foods, take it and eat. I used to just take without eat it, but I found the fact that if I eat that foods, it is also help me to distract my mind from thinking about airplane crash.
- Lap my legs while I seat on the plane. You know what, I know this is sounds weird, but by lap my legs I don’t really feel the turbulence. Believe it or not, just try it!
- When check-in, I always ask for seat near emergency exit (do not ask seat in the emergency exit, just near it), and I choose aisle so if there’s emergency landing I can go out from the plane immediately.
- Count how many chairs that I have to pass to reach the nearest emergency exit (whether its window or door exit).
- Estimate the time. If the flight takes 2 hours, I count the time start since take off. About 30 minutes before landing, the plane will decrease the speed and elevation, so don’t be disturbed if the plane getting low and there’s a sounds that disturbing your ear because it is the sound of gear and wing aircraft developed to help decrease the speed.
- The words ‘fasten your seat belt while seated’ is true. Even though the seat belt lights turned off, we have to aware of turbulence that occurs suddenly.
Well, some of them sound pretty silly but it does help me.
Have a safe flight!