Still Afraid of Flying

The first time I ever flew I was 10 years old and the whole experience of flying thrilled me to the core. For years after that, I looked forward to the occasional plane ride and had no fear apart from the terrible ear aches I used to get on cheaper flights where the landing and take off were not very smooth. In the past 8 years I have developed an increasing phobia of flying and often feel great relief when we land. Every time when I go through turbulence, I tell myself, if I come out of this flight alive, this is the last time I every fly. But after several months or so pass I get the yearning to travel and see new places again – what they call wanderlust.

I have to thank the Singapore Airlines pilot who flew the plane to Osaka and back. I think it might have been the same pilot, I’m not too sure. But the landing and take off were so smooth I did not have an ear ache or go temporarily numb in the ears. When the air pressure changes rapidly I often can’t hear after landing for about 1 or 2 whole days till my ears ‘pop’. Also the pain from the drastic change in pressure can be so great, I feel like my ear drums might burst. So thank you again to the wonderful Singaporean pilot (I could tell from the unmistakable accent).

Being crammed in cattle class also does not help when in my older years I have developed claustrophobia. I have been learning to tune out by talking it out in my head or distracting myself with a book or music. It’s quite exhausting though. The only time during the flight when I almost went berserk, was when the food tray was down and I felt so trapped. It’s really a tight squeeze and it doesn’t help that my butt is huge.

photo by bookjunkie

It may cost a bit more, but these days I only trust Singapore Airlines. My worst travel experience was on Garuda in the 80’s where the whole plane rattled. Another bad flight was Malaysian Airlines in 2001, which was delayed for a few hours.

photo by bookjunkie

It’s still scary for me to imagine how a ton of metal can be airborne and remain up there no matter how much you explain the physics of it to me. I also imagine the engine exploding and I pray that I die instantly and don’t suffer any pain. I am chicken when it comes to pain. That’s how morbid I can be. I feel so stupid relating this.

photo by bookjunkie

SIA’s Krisworld entertainment system is amazing and keeps me distracted from my fears – at least for 2 hours. Anything more than 2 hours and I get a headache from too much TV.

photo by bookjunkie

Does anyone out there have similar fears? It would be comforting to know that I am not alone in my phobias which sometimes seem irrational because statistics claim that flying is safer than riding in a car.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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10 Responses to Still Afraid of Flying

  1. Welcome back BJ. The blogging world missed you. I enjoyed all of your recent posts about your trip to Japan. That looks so fun and exciting.

    I loved the way you captured the spirit of the place especially the girls’ clothing. That is too cool. I remember when I first moved to Italy from USA and all I wanted to do was take pictures of the clothes. I should do the same here but I leave that to the professionals. I do see in the blogging world how fun that would be however.

    In fact, sometimes, when I drop my kids off at school I sit in my car and watch the parade of moms returning to their cars all chic and all. I’m so Californian in that regard. I’d say I’m casual.

    Darling little kids though. Especially the high socks little girl. What a doll.

    About your flying thing, I’d say you were brave because a lot of people let their fears overcome them and don’t even travel. So well done, girl!

    I agree that airplanes are an incredible invention to remain in awe of but remember they are safer than driving!

    Happy blogging.


    • bookjunkie says:

      I missed you too Julie…..that’s when I realize I do like technology like the internet. It’s strange that in a high tech place like Japan there was no wireless connection in the hotels.

      Thanks for the kind comments…made me feel a whole lot better 🙂 I think I just love travel too much and I hope my love for new countries always exceeds my fears.

  2. Kirsten says:

    I don’t have a phobia of flying but I hate long flights. Absolutely HATE them. It’s just so boring and I feel so trapped and I get driven crazy by the thought that everyone down there gets to go about their day and do all sorts of stuff and my life is suspended in this metal tube up here and there’s nothing that I can do but wait wait wait.

    And I can’t stand it when they serve meals and take AGES to clear it away again so the food tray has to stay down for a long time. It’s so uncomfortable!

    My favourite airlines is Emirates.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I have never tried Emirates but I must do so one day soon. I have heard good things about it. Yessss! why do they take so long to clear the trays away….its frustrating to be trapped in….now I know how little toddlers feel as they squirm and bawl in their high chairs.

      • Kirsten says:

        Even if I don’t have a cramp I often psych myself into having cramps just being annoyed about the food trays.

        I don’t know if it’s actually true but I always felt that the Emirates seats were roomier than SIA ones, which are so squished!

  3. Kirsten says:

    I measure the seats by how well I am able to curl up and contort and squeeze into them! So when I can’t do it so well I say the seat is too small, unless I’ve grown fatter… but I refuse to acknowledge that! *in denial*

  4. 365days2play says:

    Oh my god so I am not alone out there in my fears of flying!!!! I have seriously thought of going to some psychiatrist or hypnotist to beat the fears out of me! And yes, I have become more afraid of flying throughout the years! I blame all the aircrash investigation shows aired on tv! When I was younger, I didn’t even know there were so many things that could possibly go wrong so I didn’t have to worry about them!

    I think there is a device out there that can prevent the horrible ear pain you describe. I saw an ad about this in the Australian airport toilet. You wear it in your ear and it is unnoticeable. Have you tried eating sweets while the plane is descending?

    • bookjunkie says:

      I used to take suedefed which clears the nasal passage and that kinda works, but I find it all depends on the skill of the pilot and if the descent is gradual.

      Thanks for sharing your fears with me – I don’t feel so alone now. I wish seeing a therapist would be a more accessible and less stigmatized thing in Singapore…I would love to see one to clear up all my various issues. What you say is so true – ignorance as a child was truly bliss! I think it was seeing the various air crashes reported in the papers and the news over the years – it was quite scary. I also have an intense fear when people close to me are flying. I can’t relax until they have landed and are safe. I am paranoid that way.

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