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!