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WyckedWood

Flying...

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So I have this thing about flying...I know it’s totally unreasonable. I’ve flown many times in the past and always enjoyed it, never thought much of it really, and then had an experience after my Grandmas funeral (this was back in the 90s) I had my infant son with me and flying from Denver to Phoenix, there was some really awful turbulence and I promised myself if I ever made it back to the earth (lol) I would never leave it again. I think there was something psychological going on, combining death of my grandma who I was very close to, and a new mother’s fear or protective instincts having a newborn with me. Regardless, I haven’t flown since the late 90s, I kept my promise to myself. I love to go on road trips and I would just rather drive than face my fears. 

Fast forward to present day. That infant son I had with me on the plane the last time I flew, is graduating (God willing) from Marine Corp boot camp in San Diego in February. A few days later my husband and I have a company sponsored trip to Hawaii scheduled. His company sends management to Hawaii every 4 years and I have missed out on several of those trips because of my flying issues. He goes alone which always makes me feel horrible. This year I made the decision to go, I turned 50 this year and I just don’t want to miss out on life experiences anymore. So after not flying for decades, I have to fly to San Diego in February, then a day later fly to Hawaii. As it gets closer I’m starting to kind of freak out a little. I kind of obsess about airline incidents and made the mistake of reading an in depth article about the Lion Air crash and the new Boeing Max fleet and all of the issues with it. I really wish I hadn’t read that. 

Anyway...just wanted to share and vent and any words of wisdom I’d love to hear...Jeannine is making me feel more brave with everything she’ll have to deal with to go see her relatives. 

Karin

 

 

 

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I completely understand your fear. My father was an airline pilot and Captain for a major airline until he retired, so I grew up with air travel.  My sister decided to follow in his footsteps and became a pilot. The day her plane crashed was the end of my world as I knew it. Soon after, I would have panic attacks every time I had to get on a plane. Then I discovered Xanax. My recommendation is to ask your doctor for ten low dose Xanax pills. Take one a half hour before the flight and you’ll be fine. I travel to Europe on 9 hour flights now and rarely feel the need for the meds. You’ll be fine.

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Does it make you feel incapacitated, I’ve never taken that. I’ll be alone on the flight to San Diego I don’t want to fall asleep. Or is it just a relaxed feeling? Thanks.

Also, I’m so sorry to hear about your sister. That must have been extremely difficult to overcome. 

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It’s a relaxing feeling. That’s why I’m suggesting low dose so you don’t fall asleep or feel groggy.

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Have you looked into hypnotherapy? I know the build up to the actual event is very hard. This might help you get through the weeks ahead......Then for the flight there are always anti anxiety meds if needed.

Start making a plan to achieve your goal. You can do it!

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No I haven’t, I just thought of dealing with it as it happens, but something that would help with the lead up would be good, because it’s bad enough being nervous the day of, let alone I’m starting to feel like Rainman already and it’s still months away.

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17 minutes ago, WyckedWood said:

I’m starting to feel like Rainman already and it’s still months away

"I'm an excellent driver".......Everyone has their fears, you deciding to face yours is wonderful. Plus Hawaii in February.....lucky girl!

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Lol well I already have anxiety, germaphobia and ocd tendencies on a regular day. 

Im trying to be excited about it. Some of you ladies who have been to Hawaii will have to give me some travel tips for Maui area and I’m really lost as to what to wear, my normal jeans and cowboy boots aren’t going to cut it...

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That all depends on what is in the schedule. Our corporate trips to Kauai included a spa day, some light hiking, a bus tour, a formal dinner and kayaking. On long flights I wear my Adidas jogging pants (zipper pockets) a comfortable shirt and a fleece jacket or cardigan sweater. I wear my Merrill hiking shoes on the plane for easy on and off through security and for trip outings. That’s the fun part of traveling; buying and packing for the trip.

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This is a casual company trip, but 7 full days. Pretty much on our own,no company events except fancy dinner the last night.  They put us up at the Lahaina resort, but I’d like to get away from the resort for more budget friendly local food and sight seeing. I was thinking of wearing my hiking boots on the plane so I wouldn’t have to pack them. Thanks much for the tips. 

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I also have anxiety attacks.  I have learned not to show anxiety when going through security as when I did act anxious I got more thorough scrutiny and search.  I also recommend NO alcohol beverage (but that is just my opinion).

Now I have TSA Pre Check so going through security is so much easier and quicker.  So I do recommend you start now filling out the paperwork and making an appointment to get TSA Pre Check (Global Entry/Nexus).  Be sure your ID is accepted by security.  My state driver's license is not the required enhanced license so I do have to use my Passport for ID for travel even within the states.

Love going to Maui in February.  Be sure to bring binoculars.  We used them to spot humpback whales from our waterfront balcony at Kaanapali Beach and also from a waterfront restaurant in Lahaina.  Yes, we looked and acted like tourists in the restaurant.  We also went on a whale watch boat tour (some people like them, some don't).

I also look up the 10 day weather forecast before traveling -- helps better to know what to pack or not pack.  We did need a jacket when we stood at the viewpoint on Haleakala Volcano.

My husband is also concerned about germs.  A few years ago, after the TSA officer patted him down, he went to the closest bathroom, changed his shirt and threw the first shirt in the garbage.  Now, with TSA Pre Check, he usually does not get patted down.

  

 

 

 

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Turbulence is awful and I find flying competely unnatural - I cannot understand how those things get off the ground.

I have flown a lot in small/tiny planes for work so my discomfort with flying has reduced over the years. And let’s face it, you are much less likely to die flying than driving your car (or just being shot in the US). We ALWAYS take a very safe established airline even when more expensive.

Just remember it is actually quite safe. Lots of planes coming and going and very few of them have incidents.

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Back before 9/11 I loved flying, and while I do understand the need for all the security at both ends I'm too old to want to fool with the "hurry up and wait" aspect of it.  I flew back from Hawai'i to the Mainland back in 1968 with our 11 month old eldest son, one plane change in LA and on to Miami to meet & stay with my folks while the hubs was getting out of the USMC & starting a new civilian job in N GA.  Turbulence doesn't bother me, long boring flights with a squirmy baby was NOT fun.  While he was working Marine Air Traffic Control we lived in a little apartment on the windward side of Oahu and spent a week on vacation at the Military Rec Camp across the street from the caldera of Kilauea; no experience with Maui.  Go have fun; take a pillow and grab a nap on the way to HI.

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Your not alone on the stress of flying. It’s never easy but I manage I have a little routine to get in the air. I sit quietly and do not talk close my eyes ,see my dogs and breath. For me a big no before take off no reading it makes me sick. Once in the air I read a book  

Clothes for Hawaii shorts,lightweight tops, light sweaters,summer dresses ,Sandles,bathing suit. One pair of jeans and one warmer jacket  

Things to do whale watching ,travel to Hana and back. Once we went around the whole island personally I though it was a waste of time.  My all time favorite is snorkeling I can snorkel every day  

if you are going to snorkel I know of a few good place especially for first timers. 

I also check the weather forecast starting about a months out and then every week  

 

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I must say I always get a little anxious during the going up and coming down even though I've flown a lot now and usually have no problems except for the really long haul flights (like 12 hours from here to LA) which I hate!!  That's the thing about living so far away from the rest of the world!  We have to fly to get anywhere!  Concentrate on what you'll do when you get there rather than on the flights themselves.  When we flew two 12 hour flights to get to the UK last year, the worst part was going through security in all of the airports - especially Frankfurt!!

I've never been to Hawaii but it looks gorgeous!!  You'll be sure to have an absolute blast!  Good on your hubby's work for funding it!!

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I can relate to this. I had not been on a vacation for 12 years. Fear of world events was my main issue, feeling its not safe anywhere. We went to UK then took Eurostar under the English Channel to France. There was a 3 terrorist incidents with in a few months prior to our trip.  London Parliment bldgs., London bridge and right out in front of the Hotel we were to stay at in Paris near the Paris Opera house ,we could have cancelled and got our money back. I asked my husband, '' so do you think we should go???'' He replied , let me know if your not going and I will ask Ian [ out youngest son ] to go with me. So your still going? I said

Something changed in me that day and I said if your still going I am going!

No more fears of the Chunnel, no more fears of London and Paris or the Flights, I was completely ready to take on this adventure. I really surprised myself, I was ready to live my life and take the dream vacation come what may. And had the time of my life. 

I did pray a lot about my fears though and did not have them while on the trip.

Remember to breath on take off!

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Back in the day, in the 1970s, I had a dream job taking golfers all over the world on golfing junkets. The flights were mainly chartered with Pan Am. On the way home, the captain would often open the cockpit and let our passengers visit briefly. As the tour guide, I would usually let all of the golfers and spouses go ahead. I'd go last. On more than one occasion I was permitted to sit in the jump seat in the cockpit until it was time to land. Once I watched a military jet refueling from a tanker as we flew above it. Even the captain grabbed his camera at this rare sight. Flying across Lake Michigan, heading toward the lights of Chicago, the suburbs, and O'Hare Field, was especially beautiful at night. Before Pan Am put the 747s into service, they did special flights for customers. The hour-long flight was amazing, mainly because of the size of the aircraft. It was nearly incomprehensible at the time. Airport workers lined the roof of the terminal to watch it roll down the runway. To be inside the plane was intoxicating. I watched the terminal at the Pago Pago airport in American Samoa, an open-air, thatched roof structure about the size of a two-car garage get absolutely sold out of native trinkets as 130 passengers stormed the counter looking for souvenirs from this unexpected stop. We were to refuel in Fiji, but that airport had been disabled by a storm. Flying was fun. Those were the days when passengers dressed up for the flight. My aunt wore white gloves and her church hat when she boarded a prop plane at Midway for the first leg of her trip to England in the 1950s. 

I feel privileged to have been on the scene. :)   

If you're still reading, thank you. I hadn't thought about those times for a while. These ruminations have nothing to do with this thread, but it opened a memory bank that had to be shared.

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12 hours ago, Sable said:

My recommendation is to ask your doctor for ten low dose Xanax pills. Take one a half hour before the flight and you’ll be fine. I travel to Europe on 9 hour flights now and rarely feel the need for the meds. You’ll be fine.

I agree 100%. Xanax will allow you to fly. I take it every year when I fly to Seattle. I get through the flights there and back without any problems at all. It's highly addictive though so not recommended by doctors for more than a week or so of use.

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Just wanted to say thanks to all for the thoughts and comments and stories and tips. Trust me I will reread this thread many times before I go. Very much appreciated. 

Thanks, Karin 

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I just wanted to pop in here and say that my dad was a pilot and he retired old and safe. It was cigarette smoking that did him in. And even though I know a whole lot more about why planes crash than I want to, I would still fly in an instant because I know the planes are the safest they've ever been in history. Get some Xanax, relax, and have fun. You'll be fine.

And don't forget to send pictures of sun and beach back to us poor people enduring winter!

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My husband's a retired airline pilot. In his early days of flying he flew small commuter planes and in winter would sometimes complain about how much ice built up on the wings on that night's flight. Oddly I never worried about those flights over the western Pennsylvania mountains and the ice, fog, poor visibility. I knew that he was a good pilot and very experienced in poor weather flying. What made me nervous was those drives he took to get home, late at night, through the mountains on an icy curving road, and other drivers who might not be as careful on slick roads as he. 

21 hours ago, KathieB said:

Those were the days when passengers dressed up for the flight. My aunt wore white gloves and her church hat when she boarded a prop plane at Midway for the first leg of her trip to England in the 1950s. 

We got complimentary passes for reduced fares on an airline back in the mid 80's because DH was chief pilot of a small affiliated airline. It was strongly stressed that we be well dressed, DH in a suit, I in a nice dress and the children also neatly dressed. We really stood out in the crowd at the airport.

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I work in an Aircraft engineering hangar.. so I can tell you first hand that planes are the safest they have ever been. The newer ones that many lament are very computerised actually have lots of redundancies built in to their systems so if one thing fails the redundancies pick up where that part left off. We are so strict about every part and every task card that gets completed on a plane with inspector & licenced engineer sign off on every task, down to changing a bolt. Proffessional engineers (MBA in Engineering) are engaged to troubleshoot any small issues with full peer reviews and up to redesigning whole components in consultation with the original aircraft manufacturer. When we buy parts, if there is even a typo on the accompanying paperwork, the part is immediately quarantined for a full investigation. We inspect parts for all potential signs that it has not been manufactured to the highest standards, looking for witness marks, signs of wear, anomalies in paintwork, microscopic damage with boroscopes, shelf life, test reports, certificates of conformance, flammability certs..  Any issues.. it's rejected immediately. Airline engineers really take their job seriously and everyone in the Supply Chain works to the theory that their own family member could hop on the plane they are working on ( and with rebate travel probably will  :D ). I promise you it is one of THE most regulated industries in the world. We are audited by the FAA and European and Australian equivalents a minimum of two times a years, sometimes several more and not passing means getting shut down. We have a vested interest in being compliant. Also, most major airlines have a just culture.. so you can report if you make a mistake without fear of repercussions. This is in place so mistakes are corrected before a plane gets into service, not hidden by a frightened employee. 

I could go on and on for days about the extreme regulation in this industry.. it walks all over all other types of transport in terms of the compliance requirements.

Oh and also.. in my twenties I spent a decade as a flight attendant.. so I've flown more times than I like to count. And funnily enough this is why I am also a somewhat nervous flyer.. not because of the mechanics of the plane, but because of statistics. The theory is, the more you flights you have travelled on, the more likely you are to be in an accident (Accident statistics are based on rotations, a take off and a landing is one rotation). Seeing as I flew short haul and flew up to 5 flights a day for 10 years.. and have had countless vacations since. I sometimes feel like my number might be up. lol.. If you haven't flown since the 90's, you are in a great space statistically speaking. :D When I was flying in the 90s the rotation count for an accident was 1 in every 110,000 rotations.. that statistic has been getting significantly safer every year.. I don't know what it is now but about 10 years ago it was one every 150,000 rotations.. And remember, not every crash counted is a fatal one... Compare that to car, bus & train statistics and you can't find a safer way to travel than air travel. 

My personal belief is that people's fear of flying but not of driving, is the loss of control you have when flying. When you are driving, it is you or a loved one operating the vehicle, so you trust yourself or your family member/friend implicitly. When you fly, you have to give your personal safety over to some random pilot you don't know or trust and you also know that you wouldn't have the foggiest idea how to operate the aircraft if you had to. I really think this is why people who fear flying would much rather get it their car than on an aircraft even though every statistic will tell you flying is safer. Also, when an aircraft accident happens, as rare as they are, it's huge news and usually there is large loss of life, so people are horrified. But horrific things are happening on our roads every day and we happily get in our cars and run the gauntlet without a second thought. 

I haven't read up too much on the 737 Max incident (we don't have them in our fleet) but I believe it was an angle of attack issue, which a well trained pilot should have been able to recognise. Being a very new aircraft though, there probably was a deficit in the training just because of time. Not to mention, they weren't very high when it happened (soon after take off), so they had less time to respond before they ran out of sky. New aircraft are always a bit of an unknown in the first year or so. I remember when the A320 was introduced in the early 90's it has a series of crashes in it's first year and then Airbus ironed out whatever the issues were and they are now an incredibly safe aircraft type.

Try and unpack what scares you about it and then try to address those fears head on. If it makes you feel better, ring your airline a few days out and find out what kind of aircraft you are flying on (there can always be last minute changes but it's not as common as you would think). Worst case, if you don't like the type you can change your flight (I'm sure their would be a fee, but what price for your piece of mind?) Then study the floor plan, request a seat that is in an aisle, near an exit and/or towards the rear or just behind the wings... statistically the safest.. Knowledge is power. Read the safety card, listen to the demonstration so you are across what happens in the very unlikely event there is an emergency. But then, amuse yourself on the flight. Keep busy, it's a great distraction. When I was working flights I didn't have time to be concerned about my safety. I was busy.. but if I'm sitting twiddling my thumbs with too much time on my hands.. well, your mind goes to dark places.. :eek:.... Watch movies, read books, play some mind numbing game on your phone. If there is wifi, surf the web. Use noise cancelling headphones so you don't hear every groan or creak of the fueselage (perfectly normal, by the way, they are supposed to flex.. However, I still hate those noises though even though I know they are supposed to happen so I cancel them out with a loud movie.. lol). Keep your seatbelt on loosely so if there is unexpected turbulence you are secure. I agree with Nellie, that when you get particularly anxious, (for me it's take off) closing your eyes and thinking of something that makes you happy is a great way to calm yourself.

Just know that you have to be incredibly unlucky to be in a aircraft incident.. you have more chance of dying from falling out of bed.

A quick google search turned up this.

analysis of US Census data, it puts the odds of dying as a plane passenger at 1 in 205,552. That compares with odds of 1 in 4,050 for dying as a cyclist; 1 in 1,086 for drowning, and 1 in 102 for a car crash.

“Over four billion people fly every year, and the number of fatalities is minimal, tiny. If you’re flying in the US or Europe or Australia, the chances of being involved in an accident on a commercial jet airliner are virtually zero.”

Of course crashes do happen (however rare) and people do lose their lives.. but I hope it brings you some comfort to know that the chances that you will be one of them is as the quote above says.. "virtually zero".

PS: @KathieB I loved reading your reminicence! It sounds like you had a lot of fun! :D 

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