In 1972, I took my first airplane trip to Los Angeles, California. As the plane taxied down the runway, I thought to myself ,”man this is really neat.” As the jet started to climb, my ears began to hurt and eventually popped. I started to feel like I was stuck in a small vacuum and couldn’t breathe must less move around. I started to relax and put on my ear phones to listen to some music. About twenty minutes into the flight, the plane hit some heavy turbulence. All sorts of thoughts started to go through my head. I started thinking about the many air disasters that I had seen on television. I actually started to think about open and closed casket funerals for myself. Nothing else happened and we landed on time.
However, since that one time, I have had a strong love for riding on a bus, train or automobile. I know that it is silly to be scared of flying. Nevertheless, there are many things that bothered me. If they they bother me, then they bother other people,too.
Many people get claustrophobia. They just can’t stand the idea of being packed into a small area. They have to have their space to move around in. The fear of heights (acrophobia) bothers many people. They just don’t like the idea of being so high. They get scared even in tall buildings.
Flight anxiety and motion sickness are also common for people that don’t like to fly.
So what can a person do to fight these various phobias? How can an individual cope and still take advantage of the great time saver of flying?
Many people like to go to sleep. I have seen countless individuals grabbing a pillow and falling asleep before the plane even taxi’s down the runway. Some people that don’t like the motion will take some Dramamine tablets about 20 minutes before take off. Yet some people will put on their Ipods are CD players and try to relax or slip their concentration away to something else.
Virtual Reality is another method that is being explored and with a good deal of success. The only bad part of this is being able to find a clinic in your area where it is offered. Another program will try to strengthen your attitude towards flying. It gives you flight facts,cognitive training, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Autogenics Training, and Systematic Desensitization. This program will try to cover all the bases and give you the confidence you need in making your flight enjoyable.
Another area where people can go for help is that of Hypnosis. Some people, that can be put under hypnosis, have found that it can work very well.
There is no actual cure for any of these phobias’. They are all mind induced. Which means an individual has to find a way to cope with it or control it.
Airplane safety is a priority that is constantly being evaluated and improved on. Since 9-11, more emphasis has been placed on air safety and security. More money has been spent and more effort made than ever before.
From time to time, there are going to be disasters that take place. It doesn’t matter if you are in a car, on a train, or in an airplane, bad events do occur. But rest assure that flying is truly the safest way to go. The pilots that fly today are excellent. They are watched very closely by their superiors and their flight partners.
They have to pass the rigorous of training education before they are given their wings. Their flight hours are constantly monitored.
The same is true with the airplane itself. Only the best mechanics are used to keep a plane in top flying shape. So as they say, “Relax and leave the flying to us.”