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Old Mar 21, 13, 3:41 pm
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: HOUSTON, TX
Posts: 1
GeorgeS - I know you posed this in 2009; but I wanted to share; because I too am suddenly experiencing the same things you are/were. The only difference is I've flown all over already. I've done 3 flights of 14 hours each (LAX to Taipei-2x and Houston to Tokyo), 11 hour flight (Montreal to Rome), several 7 hour and countless 3+ hour flights. I've suddenly developed a huge fear of flying. Specifically, when we're parked at the gate. There is that minute when they are about to the close the doors and I hear " please prepare the cabin for departue" where I have to decide if I can do this or not. Usually, once in the air, the anxiety subdues a little and when the captain says "we're now beginning our descent into xyz..." I feel no anxiety whatsoever....just pure excitement that I made it without a panic attack. But just like you, sitting on the tarmac or at the gate is pure hell. I once got stuck on the tarmac for 2+ hours in San Fran and then had to sit on the tarmac again in San Antonio for another 2+ hours on the same flight because the weather in my final destination was too bad. This last Monday, I was supposed to fly to Montreal from Houston for work. My first flight was at 6:15 am and I was so nervous (even after .75 mg of xanax) that I changed to the 10:15 am flight through Chicago first, because it broke the flights into 2 hour sections. When the second flight approached, I was less stressed as result of the change (or maybe the xanax kicking in) and I boarded the plane, put on my belt and once everyone else boarded, the pure panic took over and I just couldn't do it. I felt so trapped in a this tight little spot. I was paranoid about losing my breathe. I left the plan and went home. Which in retrospect was the worst idea because I know I just reinforced my fear even further. My biggest fear is having a massive panic attack mid-flight. What would I do? What would the FAs do? And even further, by the time I had boarded the second plane I was on my 4th xanax (each one .25 mg) and it wasn't doing anything to me. Now I'm afraid of two things as a result. The first previously mentioned, the second that when I reach for my xanax, it won't calm me down. That was always my safety blanket. If things get bad enough, I'll just tranquilize myself to finish the flight. I'm going to see a neurologists next week and hope to find some results. My normal family practice doctor recommended I go to 50 mg of zoloft daily to help. I don't know if this is going to help; but I have the same flight you just took JFK-HTR in two months and I'm already dreading it like crazy. He also upped my Xanax to .50 mg tablets. Fortunately, my girlfriend will be flying with me and she's a nurse; but it's a very small consolation in the mind of a panic attack victim.

All this being said, I've flown business first in the past on the 777 and it's a true luxury. Knowing that worst case scenario, I can lie my seat flat and pass out is a safety blanket, just like having my xanax on me. I'm sure you found the 777 to be smoother, more open and a great flying experience. Plus the fact that you're constantly greeted by a FA with food or drink, etc is really calming. (Versus economy where you're breathing luggage.)

If you've worked to get over your fears, let me know what works as I'm all ears at this point and ready and definitely willing to beat this thing and get back to the traveller I used to be.
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