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Embarrassing panic attack on a Embraer RJ145

Embarrassing panic attack on a Embraer RJ145

Old Jul 22, 09, 11:41 am
  #16  
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You're definitely not alone when it comes to feeling discomfort on the Tube! I'm not ordinarily prone to claustrophobia but in the past I've definitely had days where all I wanted to do was to get back out of the Tube and onto the street.

If you don't happen to live in a market where it's easy to avoid regional jets, definitely attempt to book a seat towards the front of the plane. I've heard from FA's and other pax that this helps. Even for experienced fliers, the long narrow fuselage can make for an unusual experience if you've never been on one of those planes before.

Personally, I get more anxious when I'm in far back in a 757 than in an RJ. Extremely long widebodies don't bother me - probably because there are enough bulkheads to eliminate the sensation of being in a long narrow tube.

Of course, if I'm at the very back of a 757 it probably means I'm on a Skyteam carrier - perhaps it's lack-of-status anxiety more than anything...
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Old Jul 22, 09, 12:01 pm
  #17  
 
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I am mildly claustrophobic as well and the small jets get me every time!! I try to use them as little as possible but there are times when it is unavoidable. Closing my eyes and feigning sleep usually helps me until we are in the air and sitting toward the front of the plane. Once I am airborne I am usually OK, but the sitting on the ground and taxing out get me every time. Deep regular breaths.........
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Old Jul 22, 09, 12:45 pm
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by IndianaGeo View Post
... I'm seeing a doctor today to see what little pill I or techniques I can take/use for any potential future episodes.
Probably the best course. Drammamine can help some as it acts as a very mild sedative but it isn't always strong enough and must be taken well in advance. I haven't had an anxiety attack in years but still carry a couple of the low-dose Xanax I was prescribed back then just in case. That will get the adrenaline reaction under control and calm you down fairly quickly in such situations. Your doc should have some ideas to get you through future occurrences.
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Old Jul 22, 09, 3:21 pm
  #19  
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Originally Posted by IndianaGeo View Post
Hi Everyone,
I had to share this experience with you to see if it's just me or maybe it' s not just me. This morning, I had just boarded an Embraer RJ145 on a flight from Chicago's O'hare to Savannah, Georgia and, after glancing down the narrow fuselage and sitting in my seat I started having what best can be described as a panic attack. I am not used to flying on such a relatively small plane (compared to, say, a Boeing777). There I was, sensing a bout of hyperventilation coming on, feeling like the curvature of the plane was closing in on me.

I called the flight attendant over, "Psst.. I think I'm having um...I mean, I'm feeling sort of claustrophobic." She said, "You are? (Me:"yes").. Well, why don't you step outside the door for a second to get some air." Long story short, after a second try at sitting in the plane, I just had to get out. This, despite the fact that the stair ramp had already been pulled away. Very embarassing.

So, the flight personnel were quite good about it, had the stairs returned and I disembarked and they de-luggaged me as well (i.e. gave my checked suitcase back to me via the baggage pick up area).

I'm wondering if anyone has experienced something the same or similar in their lives or know someone that has. It was the weirdest thing. I may have had a subconscious reaction to a very turbulent ride I had many years ago in another relatively small plane where the pilot, upon landing, said these memorable words, "Ladies and Gentleman.. that was a flight from Hell. Thanks for choosing Southwest." Any comments or suggestions to deal with this problem are appreciated. Thanks.
IndianaGeo
Experiences from your past can definately cause irrational behavior. I remember absolutley freaking out as a child when I needed a blood test, screaming, fighting, 3 nurses to hold me down. As an adult, I get faint to this day during blood tests. I am NOT afraid of needles..I have no problem with injections going IN, but getting blood out still makes me woozy and nauseated.

The small planes freak some people out, although it's a misconception that bigger jets are safer than smaller ones. As a matter of fact, some CRJ's and Embraers actually outperform big planes in terms of speed and altitude..they can fly higher over worse weather, manouver faster, and arrive sooner than your standard Airbus or Boeing. Most of them are also somewhat newer...some 737's have been in service since the early 80's, but most bombardier CRJs were made after 1994.

If anxiety is a problem to the point of interrupting stuff, I recommend getting a perscription for anti-anxiety meds. You might be surprised how often people get them for flying. I have a few myself...although fear of flying is not my problem, agitation from the whole travel process is.
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Old Jul 22, 09, 3:32 pm
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by kevincrumbs View Post
I have a version of this problem as well. I'm fine when we're in the air as I know I can always get up, walk around and crucially, use the restroom. However, when we're stuck on the ground, sometimes I can feel like I'm about to explode due to a (false) need to urinate.

However my two recent ORD-DAY and DAY-ORD flights on UX compounded the problem as turbulence was so bad that the seat belt sign stayed on the whole time, making me feel even more trapped.

I'm thinking this stems from an EMB-120 PDX-SEA flight a couple of years ago where I did have a very real need to use the restroom and almost didn't make it in time. Would not have been fun to do SEA-ICN-HKG in a pair of wet jeans.

As for the OP, I think this thread shows you that feeling panicked or claustrophobic is not as uncommon as it may seem, even on a place like FT where we're all seemingly jet setters. Good luck.
I have similar, I think its a nervous tick, the rest of the family think its hilarious, I can go 3 times before take off for a TATL flight then fine for the rest of the flight once my mind is off it. I think mine stems from being a teacher and having to wait from 8.35 to 12.20 some days
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Old Jul 22, 09, 8:00 pm
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Originally Posted by pinworm View Post
Experiences from your past can definately cause irrational behavior. I remember absolutley freaking out as a child when I needed a blood test, screaming, fighting, 3 nurses to hold me down. As an adult, I get faint to this day during blood tests. I am NOT afraid of needles..I have no problem with injections going IN, but getting blood out still makes me woozy and nauseated.

The small planes freak some people out, although it's a misconception that bigger jets are safer than smaller ones. As a matter of fact, some CRJ's and Embraers actually outperform big planes in terms of speed and altitude..they can fly higher over worse weather, manouver faster, and arrive sooner than your standard Airbus or Boeing. Most of them are also somewhat newer...some 737's have been in service since the early 80's, but most bombardier CRJs were made after 1994.

If anxiety is a problem to the point of interrupting stuff, I recommend getting a perscription for anti-anxiety meds. You might be surprised how often people get them for flying. I have a few myself...although fear of flying is not my problem, agitation from the whole travel process is.

YOU NEED TO READ BEFORE YOU POST. tHIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SAFETY.

CHEERS!
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Old Jul 22, 09, 8:31 pm
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The only time I felt claustraphobic was on a DL Connection LAX-OAK when they still flew the route. This was a mini-MR and I was flying ATL-LAX on a DL 777, upgraded to Biz Elite with int'l business seats. After 4 hours of that, I felt really claustraphobic on an E145.
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Old Jul 22, 09, 10:00 pm
  #23  
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I am not claustrophobic, but I do suffer from pretty severe panic attacks. They manifest themselves with shorntess of breath and shooting pains through my chest. Feels like what I imagine someone stabbing me in the back with a butcher's knife would feel like. I have had multiple cardiac and other health workups and have been assured that there is nothing physically wrong with me.

One time I was on a ground delay in Houston sitting in the front row of F. The FA could see me and she could see the pain on my face and my obvious discomfort. She called the pilot and said I was having chest pains and was ready to turn the plane around. My job revolves around my flying every week. Luckily I don't have them every time I fly. I assured her that it was just a panic attack. I have worked on breathing through it and actually living through the panic is/was the best thing for me. I can't stop them from happening but I now know how to control the length and severity.

Also a sript for Xanax, Ativan or Valium can do wonders! I've taken them all at one point or another and they all have similar good effects for me. All of these are very addictive and shouldn't be popped willy nilly, but if you don't fly often taking one before flying may be your saving grace. I only take them when I feel the symptons coming on.

Last edited by prncess674; Jul 22, 09 at 10:10 pm
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Old Jul 22, 09, 10:11 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by openflync View Post
YOU NEED TO READ BEFORE YOU POST. tHIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SAFETY.

CHEERS!
I believe that the Worm is reading at a much higher cognitive level than
you assume.

Oh, by the way, I recommend half a Benadryl for when those walls start closing in on you.
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Old Jul 22, 09, 10:16 pm
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Interesting enoung, most of the posts about anxiety seem to be centered around the 145 which is a very long and rather narow (1X2 seat) tube. This also seems to be the latest RJ the legacy carriers are centering their feeder operations around.
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Old Jul 23, 09, 11:07 pm
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Me too

OP,

I empathize. I have been flying for years in all sorts of aircraft. However, over the past 10 years my travel is primarily transpac and wide body. Coincidentally, I have increased my trancon flights with the (unfortunately) frequent RJ segments.

About 2 years ago I had my first anxiety attack on a regional jet. If I could have gotten off, I would have. The "event" happens as I sit in my seat and the rest of the passengers board. As the boarding passengers back up next to me due to struggles with carry-on luggage, I develop this accelerating sense of confinement. It is particularly unbearable if the outside temp is warm and/or high humidity exists. As a result, I will no longer book flights with regional jet segments
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Old Jul 24, 09, 12:11 am
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Omyai View Post
OP,

I empathize. I have been flying for years in all sorts of aircraft. However, over the past 10 years my travel is primarily transpac and wide body. Coincidentally, I have increased my trancon flights with the (unfortunately) frequent RJ segments.

About 2 years ago I had my first anxiety attack on a regional jet. If I could have gotten off, I would have. The "event" happens as I sit in my seat and the rest of the passengers board. As the boarding passengers back up next to me due to struggles with carry-on luggage, I develop this accelerating sense of confinement. It is particularly unbearable if the outside temp is warm and/or high humidity exists. As a result, I will no longer book flights with regional jet segments
I'm sorry to hear that. Since you are no loinger flying on Regional Jet anymore. So you will try to do something else for flying large jet for which the equipment is 757, A320/A319 or whatever where you will flying on. So unfortunately, that you wasn't feels too well. You will try to get some rest at home to get feel better. You should have go to see your doctor to figuriing it out something is wrong with you. Do you have any case of emergency with your relatives. Do you have any previously diagnosed all of your life?
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Old Jul 24, 09, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by IndianaGeo View Post
Hi Everyone,
It's really reassuring to hear the empathy and sympathy expressed in the replies to my post. Someone had asked if I'm claustrophobic in other situations as well. I would have to say that in general I'm okay with most reasonable situations. However, I've had a near panic attack when I was stuffed into a London Tube train during rush hour and the train paused for a bit in the tunnel. My face was close to being plastered against the window of the door and I found myself wondering if there was a way out. Not fun.

I'm seeing a doctor today to see what little pill I or techniques I can take/use for any potential future episodes.
OP, Thanks for the update. Remember, we are all flyers here so you can feel free to lean on us for support and encouragement. Let us know how the visit went.
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Old Jul 24, 09, 8:46 am
  #29  
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Don't forget as well that even though we might do it a fair bit, flying is stressful. If you look at what flying involves against what people's 'comfort zones' are:
- people like to be in control of their environment and what happens to them - in flying this is regulated and is completely outside your control. Even things like chosing when to eat can be controlled by airline staff. We might not be able to even control things like being able to move around. We can't listen to music when we want. The temperature etc is outside our control (and hence the endless arguments about blinds up/blinds down - it's people trying to reassert control over an environment in which they have limited options).
- people don't like to feel crowded, like to preserve personal space - in flying, you are crammed in, often having to touch people you don't know. You might be in close proximity to the seat in front, and be not able to stand up straight when standing

Just those two factors alone increase stress (and by that I principally mean the physiological signs of stress - typified by increases in cortisone, one of the flight or fight reaction drugs). So you're in a stressing environment which is causing your body to produce more of the drugs that help you cope with a stressful environment from back when we were cavemen - which are not particularly helpful on an plane! What is amazing is that more people don't have these kind of attacks (or the other kind - air rage), given that the conditions pax are in on planes seem pretty much perfectly designed to stress us out!
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Old Jul 24, 09, 2:44 pm
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I'm not claustrophobic but I did use to have a very (un)healthy fear of flying, and like you I deplaned one time. In my case it was an MD80 at BOS destined for Amsterdam. Getting off of the plane was embarassing. Delaying the flight for a half hour while they looked for my checked bag was humiliating.

But I got over it with a little time and alot of hard work. I'm sure you can too.
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