Healing my fear of flying

Yes, I fly a lot. In the last two months, I had eight flights (4 of them being over 5-7 hours). In the last ten years, I was flying at least 6-10 times a year.

In the beginning, I’ve used to enjoy my flight and had just a little bit of concern in the time of turbulences. I remember my bumpy sky road to Lisbon and the screams in the plane. Yes, it was scary, but not that bad.

But after the 2014 incident with MH370, something happened. The media did its rock and roll, and my control freak mind had a word. Suddenly I was terrified of flying. But this just can’t keep me on the ground. I have to travel for my soul and I have to deal with this fear. But how?

After a very rough flight from Bali to Singapore (and the most intense fear of my life), I developed a panic attack and I was about to miss the flight to Dubai. I felt that I could not put my feet on another plane again. But to stay in Singapore was not a solution at that time, and I’ve made a pact: if I would feel just a little bit sick on the plane, I would run before the takeoff.

Guess what? My Singapore Airlines plane had a lot of space, elegance, and air. All the staff was really sweet and understanding. And we took off. Now I was trapped: intense sweating, pumping heart and a paralyzed mind thinking only of the clouds, storms and the monsoons over India.

And then I had an idea. I got up and spoke with a stewardess. She was so nice and not only calm and relaxed, but very realistic and professional. I’ve asked her everything: about the fear of flying, about the plane, the turbulences, the pilot and the events that she has been through. And everything she told me was a step ahead for me to confront my fears.

I have to make a confession: I drank some cocktails on that flight. I just took advantage of the best drinks and food in the sky and of their amazing business class services and I had an excuse with my fears and worries. Seven hours just flew by without realizing. It was the easiest and the most comfortable flight I ever had.

And these are my “rules” for a great, peaceful and relaxed flight:

1. Take the best ticket you can get, even if it’s a little bit expensive. Your comfort does matter.

2. Business class or economy comfort are just better. I have my own space and I can breathe. (And the Singapore Airlines services are exceptional.)

3. I always stay at the aisle. No window, clouds and terrifying storms for me, please.

4. Even if I don’t fly at the business class, I prefer the front of the plane.

5. I like to eat and drink something because it calms me. But now, after the last flight, I understand that I can keep my fears down without alcohol. I just smile. Stupid, I know, but it works. (and if all the people on the plane will smile at you, even better).

6. Dress comfortable. Put your bags in order, have the passport, water, cards and other important papers and objects near you or under your seat.

7. Watch an old movie that you love. The maximum volume does miracles. Read something interesting or play a game, or make a list of all things that you are grateful for.

8. Look at the staff faces and reactions. If they are happy, you can be relaxed. Listen to the pilot, find confidence in his/ her voice.

9. Imagine that you are on a train or a bus. Being very tired helps too - you seem to not care so much.

10. Choose a great company you can trust. It is about the gut feeling!

Wish you amazing flights and please, please, please don’t stop to travel and discover this amazing world because of fears of the unknown. We all have them. Confront these fears today! They are not facts, just presumptions.

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