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.
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.
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.
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.
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.