Friday, March 27, 2015

The Rational Fear of Flying

For me, the simple thought of flying on an airplane fills me with dread. Even driving to the airport makes my stomach feel tied in knots. I get horrible motion sickness when flying (medication doesn’t help) but that’s not the only reason why I hate flying. I haven’t flown on an airplane since being on a horrible flight in January 1993. The plane on which I was flying passed through a massive line of unusual January thunderstorms and I think everyone on that plane thought we were not going to land in one piece. We were heading to a business meeting on the east coast and colleagues from Chicago were also flying there, on another flight about a half hour behind us. They flew through the same storm. Their flight was even worse than mine and some people on that flight had to be hospitalized for injuries. I swore on the flight home that I would never set foot on a plane again.

Since my last flight in 1993, air travel has become even more unsettling for many people. The planes crashing into the World Trade Center on 9/11 tightened security and that made the process of just getting on the plane to be a hassle. Stories of plane crashes in general are unsettling. But over the last year where planes have crashed or gone missing - Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March 2014 being the most notable – flying is becoming uncomfortable for even those who aren’t afraid to fly. The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 this week, which currently is presumed to be a deliberate act, is a horrifying thought which brings the fear of flying to a whole new level.

The fear of flying can no longer be considered an irrational fear.

I’m not sure if there will be anything so critical that will force me to get on a plane. I do realize that no method of travel is 100% safe. But when I put my life in the hands of someone else – an airline, a plane, or a pilot – I want to have complete confidence that they will deliver me to my destination in one piece. I simply do not have that confidence any longer, not even a shred of it. I don’t think the earth will stop spinning if I never board a plane again. But each air tragedy breeds more people like me: not phobic, just those who have a reasonable and rational fear of flying.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,
The Frequent Critic, here.