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Fear of international flying

Fear of international flying

Old Jun 12, 19, 7:37 am
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Fear of international flying

So I have an upcoming trip to the British Virgin Islands this week and I love traveling.

My issue is that I HATE flying over large bodies of water so instead of looking forward to my trip, I am having major anxiety. Plus I saw online that the weather when I'm returning will be bad in my hometown (rain). I hate flying in bad weather.

But yeah flying over water makes me extremely nervous (tho it never bothered me in the past). I keep thinking the worst will happen. Also, what happens if there's an emergency? There's nowhere to land!

Can anyone relate to this? What has helped you?

Last edited by Marla456; Jun 12, 19 at 10:20 am Reason: Wrong forum
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Old Jun 12, 19, 10:12 am
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Fear of International Flying

Originally Posted by Marla456 View Post
Think I posted this in the wrong forum. Never mind.
Welcome to Flyertalk, Marla456
I am going to move this over to the TravelBuzz Forum.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 11:16 am
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It doesn't appear that you are afraid of international flying....it's the weather and the water. To the British Virgin Islands there are lots of places to divert if needed, en route. You aren't flying out in the open ocean. If simply flying in rain bothers you then there are bigger issues. There are anti-anxiety drugs and other professional help available.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 1:18 pm
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Thank You.

I think you are correct. I do suffer from anxiety. Perhaps it's time I see a professional about this.

I don't want this to hinder me from doing things I enjoy (i.e. traveling).
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Old Jun 12, 19, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Marla456 View Post
I keep thinking the worst will happen. Also, what happens if ....
One strategy I've found useful is to cut yourself off at "what happens if."

Planes can withstand an awful, awful lot of turbulence -- including the kind that tips over galley carts and sends laptops crashing to the ceiling. As long as you wear your seat belt you've mitigated as much risk as you can.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Marla456 View Post
So I have an upcoming trip to the British Virgin Islands this week and I love traveling.

My issue is that I HATE flying over large bodies of water so instead of looking forward to my trip, I am having major anxiety. Plus I saw online that the weather when I'm returning will be bad in my hometown (rain). I hate flying in bad weather.

But yeah flying over water makes me extremely nervous (tho it never bothered me in the past). I keep thinking the worst will happen. Also, what happens if there's an emergency? There's nowhere to land!

Can anyone relate to this? What has helped you?
First of all, there's a 99.99999% chance nothing will happen. (I might be off by a 9 or two.)

Second, if there's an emergency, the plane will land at a nearby airport. Flights to the Virgin Islands don't have to traverse any significant open water. (I figure if you were originating in Europe, *that* would be the flight that was worrying you, not the connection to Tortola.) From the mainland U.S., you're fairly likely to connect in an onshore hub and then San Juan. There's no routing that will take you into ETOPS territory. Your captain will always have a list of fairly short diversion options throughout the flight. (I guess maximum diversion would be if IAH-SJU is involved? Minimum would be MIA-SJU, of your potential big connecting hubs.)

Enjoy the trip. BVI is super cool. The diving/snorkeling there is great.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 2:13 pm
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Anxiety sucks! I LOVED flying as a child, but do get more nervous now, even though I love to travel. Pretty sure most of that is related to control issues. 😆
Iím doing my best to work with anxiety, as opposed to fighting against it. It seems to be more productive.

Have you tried meditation? I use an app called Calm. Itís quite helpful. It has loads of meditations on all sorts of topics. Even ones for flying. You can download them and use them offline.

I believe you can get a week free trial then either pay monthly or yearly.

The Calm app, and my Bose Quiet Comfort headphones, have made flying more enjoyable for me.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 3:31 pm
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+1 to Calm. I used to work in their office building (for a different company). They are great people.

Many employers offer Calm for free or reimbursed as a wellness perk - check with your benefits department if applicable.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 4:23 pm
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In the longer-term, I'd suggest reading the following books, both are under $10 on Amazon:

Soar: The Breakthrough Treatment for Fear of Flying

Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks

For years I had to take meds to get on a plane, but I finally decided to kick them because I didn't like how they made me feel. I've gone from probably a '9' to a '3' on an anxiety scale 1-10 when flying after reading those books and putting them into practice. Went to Europe last year just fine.
I do understand what the OP is saying in terms of water, I had felt the same in the couple times I went to Hawaii. You just feel extra vulnerable without the "safety" of land below you, even though there is zero real danger.

Don't let the anticipatory anxiety get you down, it's the worst part.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 5:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Marla456 View Post
What has helped you?
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Old Jun 12, 19, 8:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Marla456 View Post
So I have an upcoming trip to the British Virgin Islands this week and I love traveling.

My issue is that I HATE flying over large bodies of water so instead of looking forward to my trip, I am having major anxiety. Plus I saw online that the weather when I'm returning will be bad in my hometown (rain). I hate flying in bad weather.

But yeah flying over water makes me extremely nervous (tho it never bothered me in the past). I keep thinking the worst will happen. Also, what happens if there's an emergency? There's nowhere to land!

Can anyone relate to this? What has helped you?
Hey @Marla456. Welcome to FT.

For the trip, might I suggest you book an aisle seat? Looking out the window and seeing the Atlantic won't help your anxiety. I would not necessarily take any chemical assistance. As others have said, there are exercises that might help you overcome your anxiety issues.

As for the weather coming home, I would not worry too much about it. Mostly for two reasons;

While in flight, you will usually be above the weather. It's only when you descend that you will be flying through the weather. Keeping in mind if the weather is truly bad, your plane will likely divert for safety. They won't mess around with that.

Second: If you haven't taken off yet, if the weather is bad, they will likely delay the takeoff to give the bad weather a chance to pass. I've been stuck on a plane waiting on the tarmac for the weather (in my case, really strong winds) for several hours. In my case, I'm luck I could sleep while waiting... but as long as you have some entertainment (either your own tablet or from the IFE or a good book), you should be good.

Enjoy your trip, don't think about the huge body of water below you (think about standing on the edge of that water).
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Old Jun 12, 19, 9:13 pm
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Water is just a phase change away from being ice, which is basically rock, so really, you're only flying over rock on a particularly warm day.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 11:42 pm
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Originally Posted by akl_traveller View Post
Water is just a phase change away from being ice, which is basically rock, so really, you're only flying over rock on a particularly warm day.
When I was living in Canada, I can walk on water half of the year.
I seem to have lost that touch when I moved to SE Asia.
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Old Jun 13, 19, 6:03 am
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I fly all the time, but I do admit that I get a little uneasy feeling going from LAX to SYD. I mean, youíre overwater for 16 hours. There are stop over points within a certain distance in order for the plane to be certified, but there is definitely a loss of control. For me, the excitement always wins out though!
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Old Jun 13, 19, 4:28 pm
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Thanks guys for your advice and helping put some things into perspective.

My flight is tomorrow morning.

I’m still nervous but feeling better than before after reading your responses. I certainly won’t be looking out the window for the majority of the trip though (I’m in the middle seat anyway unfortunately as I would have preferred the aisle seat. Oh well). I am going to listen to music, read a book on my e-reader and definitely having a glass of wine (or two) while I’m on board.

Thanks again.
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