Funny skies

So I flew on Southwest Airlines over the weekend for the first time for a friend’s wedding. (It was not possible to drive that far and get back in time for work Monday morning.) When the flight attendant started reciting the safety features lecture I was surprised because it was actually funny. Who knew that that you could actually make light of something so serious. I first thought that the purpose of the humor was to get people to actually pay attention to the content of the message instead of ignoring it and reading or sleeping or whatever. The person next to me told me that this happens quite a lot on Southwest, they really do want their employees to wing it – so to speak. Just so the information is in there, they don’t really care how it is delivered. Which got me to thinking why would they let them do it, doesn’t it hurt the brand?
One side benefit of all the humor is that, for people like me that hate flying, it is a nice distraction from the anxiety that builds up to take off. I mean, all the seriousness of the safety features and the oxygen masks, seat belts, how to open a window and find the exits if the plane fills with smoke, those are pretty sobering thoughts. And not all that comforting. So interjecting some humor in the whole thing not only serves to get people to listen (how many times some people have heard the lecture must be mind-boggling), but also gets them to relax a bit before takeoff. Now if they could only extend their humor to turbulence, that would be a real help for me because that is the very worst of the whole flight. And lately, I don’t know of too many people that have commented on how smooth their flight was.
This is the topic of another conversation, but Southwest Airlines must be pretty confident in their employees to let them go “off scrip” and entertain. Might not be a bad place to work…in a desk job!


OK, I am admitting to the world that I am afraid of flying. That doesn’t mean that I don’t fly, I just hate it with a passion.  It is a control thing, and also partly because I have an unusually sensitive stomach so any unexpected movement causes all kinds of dissatisfaction in my digestive system. Which affects my head.  Which affects my heart rate. And so on.

Part of the discord is that I cannot see where I am going. I am a front seat person – cars, carriages, any conveyance requires me to be in the front seat so that my eyes can inform my stomach what is coming up. If it knows it is coming, then it is just fine. If it gets bumpy and is completely in the dark, then bad news. So you can imagine how hard it is to keep my stomach under control when I am stuck in coach with no hope of ever seeing out the front window…oh and yes, the side windows aren’t good enough. Besides, you can’t see turbulence so there is another problem right there.

The control thing is a bigger factor. Not only am I stuck in the back with no view, I have no control. From the time the plane leaves the ground until it lands, I have no control. And that is at it should be. But the lack of control contributes to my fears and apprehensions. It is a couple hours of being in the hands of someone else and in a transportation vehicle that you can’t leave because it doesn’t stop and it is about 30,000 feet in the air.
This kind of anxiety is just why some people choose to fly with a private jet manager. That way, at least you have some control of when and where you are going and how you get there. Commercial aviation, not so much.

I sat next to a dead-heading pilot (what a terrible name) on one flight and recognizing my anxiety, he filled me in on all the strange sounds that one hears while flying to try and allay some of my fears. This is the wheels going up, this is the ventilating system and so on. For two hours. I must admit, it did help me a bit to know that that weird whirring sound wasn’t a misfiring engine.

What I still would like to know is why they can’t fly over or around turbulence. Heck, anyone can see that there are huge clouds ahead with tops at 45,000 feet. Just go around it. Or over it. Please just not through it!

A New Adventure


My name is Mike and this is my blog.  I decided to confront my fears head on and begin to blog about them.  Perhaps by writing about them, I might have a chance to overcome them and maybe, just maybe, not be so afraid of them anymore.  Although I am an adult, I sometimes think that my fears are irrational when compared with my friends’ and family’s fears.  Sometimes, we just can’t get ahead of things that truly scare us and since I have tried everything else, I hope that this blog will serve to help me, and help you, confront the scariest.

It promises to be a wild ride.


Thanks for reading,