Fear of Flying: Irrational but Real

My open letter to commercial airline pilots

airplane passengers
Image by Stela Di from Pixabay

The first rosary begins right when the plane speeds up for takeoff. The second, during the approach and landing, which is when half of the aviation fatalities happen, or so I’ve read.

I’m aware my fear of flying’s irrational. For one, I don’t fear death per se, but my kids suffering because I died. Plus the likelihood of a crash or accident is minuscule. Actually, I’ve read the most dangerous part of the journey would be the car ride to and from the airport. It makes no sense, then, that, in the car, I can sleep like a baby, while, on an airplane, I manage to relax a bit only if I take a full dose of meds.

1- Please, never forget to introduce yourself with great confidence. Passengers with a fear of flying need convincing that you can fly a 90,000-pound winged object in your sleep.

2- If there’s any turbulence, don’t just turn on the fasten seatbelt sign. Say SOMETHING, like, “We’re just going through a bit of choppy air so I’ve turned on the seatbelt sign for safety. I’ll be turning it off real soon.” 

3- Be especially communicative and reassuring if a plane crash hasn’t been in the news for a long time. To me, it feels we’re due for one. Morbid and illogical, I know!

There’s one last thing I’d like you to know, I love it when the pilot stands outside the cockpit as we exit the plane. I love to pause on my way out, make piercing eye contact and thank you for getting me safely back on land.

Were it not inappropriate, I’d give you a kiss and a big tight hug to show my infinite gratitude and relief to be on solid ground and not 35,000 feet up in the air.

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