| 16.8°C Dublin

Strap yourself in and let me tell you how I beat my fear of flying

As I strapped myself into the plane seat last Saturday, I looked around.

There were lots of children, plenty of couples and two old women with a young girl.

Some people were heading off for a relaxing holiday and others, like the four in front of me who got stuck into the Redbull early on in the flight, were up for one long week of partying.

We were all crammed into a plane and trusted that after two and half hours we would arrive safely.

What is it about human nature that we can forget tragedies, like airplanes going missing or being shot down, and get on with life?

You see, I used to be terrified of flying. The panic would set in a couple of days before the flight.

strapped

I would begin to calculate how long it would take me to get a train and boat to my destination. And once I worked out that it took too long, I would resign myself to flying.

Once I hit the airport I would count down to the moment I would be strapped into the plane. Every second was less time in the open. The build up to stepping on the flight became a build up to imprisonment.

When I got onto the plane, every sound, every movement by someone else became a trigger for panic.

Someone coughing - it was a signal from one terrorist to another. A member of the cabin crew looking off to the side - it was a sign that turbulence was about to come.

As for the slightest bit of turbulence - well, we were heading straight to the ground.

I would visualise how I would crash. I would actually end up flying through the air, still strapped into my seat.

And when I was found on the ground, I would be strapped in, sitting upright like a big silly rag doll, and everyone would laugh at this sight.

So it was my vanity that was at stake here, not my life!

But here's the thing: I'm not afraid of flying anymore.

I don't know why. Maybe because I spoke to my doctor about it and she gave me some great tips on how to distract myself while up in the air.

safer

Or maybe its because I'm that little bit older and am not fighting the fact that I am going to die. Or maybe I have truly accepted that the old statistic that you're a bajillion times safer in a plane than you are in a car.

When we go 33,000 feet into the air, we are always going to come down.

Most times on the runway but sometimes (one time in a million, statistically) somewhere else.

It's a chance we take, but we humans love taking a chance.


Privacy