In Which I Sound a Little like a Helpless Princess: I Fly Horribly – Suggestions?

As you may have read in my last post, I am off to Tuscon, Ariz., this weekend for the Society of Southwestern Authors conference, Wrangling with Writing. And, while I’m excited to be going to another writing conference as well as traveling as far west as I’ve ever been (unless you count the five seconds I was at LAX or the fact that my husband and I went to Hawaii on our honeymoon), I’m pretty nervous.  About the flying, I mean.

I am just a horrible flyer.  I had flown once in my entire life before I met my husband, and then he moved to Georgia four months after I met him (not because of me—because of grad school!).  The year we did the long distance thing, one of us flew to see the other one about every three weeks, so I got a lot of practice in, but still—I wasn’t a fan.

Being afraid of heights—and of dying in a plane crash—will do that to you.

It’s mostly the taking off and the landing the does it to me.  And any kind of turbulence. If my stomach drops even just for a second, I have to stop my doing my sudoku puzzle, editing a manuscript, or reading a book and grip the armrests for dear life.  I feel like *the biggest idiot*, but it’s not something I can really control.

This is me.

Since actually moving to the same state as my hubs, the plane travel hasn’t stopped.  We tend to go on a lot of trips (Greece last summer—hello!), and I have been going to and/or speaking at a bunch of conferences.  And I still suck at flying.

I try not to be noticeable about it, and for the most part, I don’t think I am (unless you happen to be looking at me—like the flight attendant on our British Airways flight back to the States from our Greece trip, who asked me if I was okay during a bout of turbulence.  Apparently, I looked like I was going to die or something—and that was *with* my husband to grab on to.  I feel much more helpless—and silly—when I’m alone).  But my heart still races and I still feel like I’m on the brink of a panic attack every time . . . until I feel the wheels hit solid ground. 🙂

The whole experience makes me anxious: getting there on time for your flight, opening up all your crap for security and getting it packed back up quickly, actually flying, and then making sure your bags got there. (Mine didn’t at first on my honeymoon, and neither of our bags made it to Greece until three days into the trip. You can read about that here.)

I usually take short flights—two hours, tops.  And I almost never have to connect.  This trip, however, requires a little more air time and a connection to boot.  Ugh.

Anyway, does anyone else suck at flying like I do?  It sure doesn’t seem like it, when I’m actually on these flights.  (Except for, on my way to Orlando, the two sisters sitting next to me who were being so obnoxious about being “scared” that everyone was looking over at us, so I *really* had to try and curb my own reactions. I mean, I never make *noises*, but since they were being so freaking loud and annoying, everyone looking probably saw me clutching at my armrests.  Ugh again.)

So . . . any advice on how to overcome this? Because sometimes I seriously want to cry.  I’m anxious thinking about it right now, and it’s overshadowing my excitement for the trip!

I mean, I guess there’s always alcohol . . . but still.  I *do* still have to make my connection, and I won’t have the hubs to help this trip either!

😦

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9 thoughts on “In Which I Sound a Little like a Helpless Princess: I Fly Horribly – Suggestions?

  1. Aw, you poor sweet thing. I used to hate flying. But now, I only have a brief moment of angst when we first take off or if turbulence gets really bad. Just try to keep yourself busy, maybe listen to music or read–anything to distract yourself. Hang in there. You’ll get through it. Hope you have a fab conference!!!

    • After taking the time to figure out the actual flight times, I am feeling a little better about it. Three and a half hours and then an hour and a half is still not that long in the air.

      We’ll see…

      Making some playlists on my iPod right now! 😉

  2. Ah – now see if you were taking me with you, I could be your voice of reason throughout the flight and in the airports… 🙂

    On a serious note – a combination of the following… iPod, alcohol, Taylor (ahem)… can you take a laptop and watch movies or something on it? I would suggest massive amounts of codeine to knock you out, but I would be worried about waking up on time.

    Hang in there. I’ll be praying for you. And happy early birthday. I hope you have a fabulous time. 🙂

    • Yes, it’s always better with someone there – unless that someone makes fun of you for being afraid – but you would never do that! 🙂

      Dude, I’ll prob have TAYLOR done before I go! *Sheena*!!

      Yes, I’ll have my laptop. Will likely do some contest judging on the way. But I got some fab books from Kyle for my birthday, so perhaps I’ll just read those! 🙂

  3. Do what I do: for take-off just ease the stick back and let it fly off the ground, for turbulence dial the speed back a little and try to change altitude, for landing just point it at the ground until you get a little scared and then chop the throttles and pull like hell! Follow these simple suggestions and it will make your flying experience much more enjoyable.

  4. Xanax. Trust me it works wonders. My boyfriend and I are both nervous flyers. I actually only flew for the first time in my life THREE years ago (I’m 32, do the math). My parents don’t fly so I never went on fun trips to Disney or anything like that when I was younger. So I was always terrified to fly. Then my boyfriend convinced me if I ever wanted to go to FL (which had always been my dream, as a New Yorker who hates the cold & snow), I needed to get on a plane. So I got a prescription for xanax and flying is SO much easier now. I can even LOOK OUT THE WINDOW while we’re in the air! I never woulda dreamed of such a thing a few years ago! 🙂

    • I can look out *at times* too.

      My parents don’t fly anymore either. Just the one time we went to the Bahamas when I was in 7th grade. Any time we went to Disney World, we drove!

      We’ll see… 🙂

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