The Fear of Flying

Airplane accidents can make us think twice before booking the next flight or cause such fear of flying that we altogether stop using planes. Still it is said to be the safest way to travel and despite the recent news it still holds true. I know, but it’s just a bit harder to be relaxed about it.


I can see the gap and as if detached from me, I watch my foot almost reluctantly step inside. I am greeted by the flight attendant and I finally rise my head and nod. I observe the fellow passengers  as if in slow motion and out of nowhere I think: »are you the people I am going to die with?« But this is not me, I can’t be that person. Because for me sitting on a plane, was always the perfect place to be; heading towards my next destination.

My first flight was love at first sight or so I like to believe, because I was too young to remember it. But ever since then just the prospect of flying made me excited. Eager even. I will never forget being pregnant with my first. I just got the contractions and was walking down the street. A bus went past and on it was a huge poster advertising Turkish Airlines. I wish I was on that plane, was the first thing that crossed my mind. Of course with the pain of labor looming in, I would settle for just about anything else but the hospital. Still, I think that was the first time through out my pregnancy that I wished I was planning to have a trip instead of a baby. And while I was always upfront about how hard being a Mom is, it always felt unseemly to complain about flying. Even if the flight was too long or I had to wait at the airport, well, suck it up, because just the opportunity is a privilege. Thinking about it know, I can see it was all a crazy infatuation. But I was fairly certain, no one would be able to make me second guess it.

While I was always aware of the news of some plane crashing some place, I never gave it too much thought. Come on, accidents happen, I can walk down the street and a car hits me.

And car accidents are actually way more common. Yet I don’t see myself hyperventilating the second I enter it.

I blame my new developed anxiety on motherhood. Truthfully I blame all that has gone haywire in the last five years to being a Mom. It has made me emotional, scared of everything, full of what ifs and way too responsible. These are probably not bad traits. But combine them with an excessive amount of imagination (I have it) and recent news of airplane accidents and you suddenly develop a fear of flying. Not a crippling fear- but just enough to make you uncomfortable, to cross your mind occasionally and not let you enjoy what you once loved.

The media shoulders some blame as well, if it were not for all those stories of the victims, I guess it would never feel real to me. But these were real people with their kids, lives left waiting… And imagining myself in their shoes, made me pause and think – should we even be doing it? Two days after the AirAsia crash, I was on the computer buying our tickets for a pretty similar route, Kuala Lumpur to Bali. It was silly to feel queasy. Of course nothing can happen, I tried reasoning with myself. The accident can’t happen twice to them, but then come to think of it, it did happen twice to Malaysian Airlines.

I was stronger than that, I wouldn’t let fear cripple me. So, we flew.Still I was sad that flying now made me wary, that despite the altitude and speed the thoughts of what could go wrong were able to catch up to me. But slowly, gradually it started to feel good again and just as I was getting my mojo back, the Germanwings incident occurred. Now I am at a loss once more, but determined to not let anyone deter me. Flying to my next destination is just the start of an amazing adventure – called my vacation and I will enjoy it. I might not be able to get back that crazy silly infatuation, but it might also be time to let it go. Along with the fear of flying.

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