I am one of the 25% of the population that has nervousness about flying. Who knows where it came from…feeding off others fear, a super turbulent flight or binge watching Mayday before binge watching was a thing. It’s probably a mixture of all of the above. My anxiety goes a little bit like this. For the weeks and days leading up to the trip if I even think of the flight I have an instant hot flash! In my head the battle starts…cancel the trip, just stop thinking about it, what if you crash, cancel the damn trip, stop thinking about worst case scenario, what if the engine fails, CANCEL YOUR TRIP! It’s endless. But the thing is when I get to the airport I’m fine. That is until my last flight!
It was a beautiful day in Orlando. Myself and 3 of my beautiful friends were on our way to the airport, excited to be going home. We check our bags, go through security and grab Starbucks. Like clock work the plane starts boarding. Everything is normal…until the announcement that the flight will be delayed. Then it starts! The instant hot flash, my eyes darting around, the questions popping like popcorn in my head. WHAT IN THE EFF is happening!!
A half hour later, “Ladies and gentlemen flight #$%&@ will be delayed another 2 hours. Sorry for the delay but we have discovered an issue with the engine that needs to be addressed.” ENGINE!! Did she just say engine!! And just like that my anxiety was at a 10. I spend the next 2 hours googling because that’s the smartest thing to do lol. We were also messaging a friends friend that works on planes to get his opinion on the situation. He obviously couldn’t tell us much as he knew nothing about the issue with said plane hahaha.
Just like an angel over the intercom, just a couple hours later, we were then told the plane was repaired and we were able to board! I obviously take the huge lineup as an opportunity to zip to the bathroom before the long flight home. As I’m standing in front of the giant mirror washing my hands things went from bad to worse. Bright white flashing lights and a recording blasting over the intercom to stay alert, no elevators, stand by for direction…blah, blah, blah!
That’s when I met my spirit animal. I have no idea her name but she walked into the bathroom, glass of wine in hand. She yelled, “What’s happening? Between a broken plane and being 3 glasses of wine deep right now I can’t take much more!” To which my response was, “Damn, why didn’t I think of a liquid breakfast.” And then 2 strangers stood there laughing together. In that moment of laughter we calmed each other down. A half hour later the airport went quiet, for about a millisecond, because then the cheering started! 200 people’s frustration and fear now changed to excitement and relief.
That flight felt like the longest flight EVER! Would the pilots and flight attendants get on a plane that is broken? Would they put their own lives in danger and 300 others? Surely not, but let’s face it, it never made the journey easier. Until my feet were firmly planted on Canadian soil I did not relax. T-minus 11 months until my next flight and the anxiety struggle is real! I’d love to know your stories and tips for dealing with travel anxiety.