Once you’re over your fear of flying, your trips can be like the kind former fearful flyer Rochell just emailed me about. Rochell just flew from Sydney to Hong Kong, her first overseas flight in 8 years!
“Am pleased to report that I had the best experience ever! I was even able to enjoy my holiday and not be filled with dread at the thought of having to get on a plane to return home. YAY!”
YAY indeed. When you’re no longer afraid to fly, the world opens up. You’ll find you actually have time to worry about other things instead of crashing, dying, turbulence, etc. In fact, as I was getting ready for a five-day trip to Chicago, I discovered some of them.
10. Worries about what to pack. What to take when the weather’s different from where you live? What will I feel like wearing three days from now? How many clothes are too many? Not enough? Warm enough? Boots, umbrellas, or bikinis? What will my favorite outfit look like wrinkled?
9. Worries about what I left behind. The good news is that once you’ve left it behind, it’s too late to worry. I left home without a toothbrush (pretty easy to replace but still a pain, and bad breath is never welcome no matter what city you fly to) and my watch, which made the next worry even bigger.
8. Worries about Time. How will I wake up in time to leave on what I call a “red rooster” flight (one where you get up before the chickens). Which friend would be willing to drive me to the airport at 5:00 a.m.? How much traffic or construction on the way to the airport? How long will it take to check luggage? Will security lines be long? (Hint: They always are!) Will the flight be delayed? (Same hint as the security lines.)
7. Fear of not bringing enough money. This can be remedied by a quick stop at the ATM on the way to the airport, provided you have money in your account AND you’ve covered worry number 8 above–there’s enough time to stop.
6. Worries about who’s in charge at home. In my case, it was my daughter who kept my cats alive (not the plants though) and Captain Ron who minded the Fearless Flight store. To cope with this worry, use your cell phone to check in.
5. Worries about lack of sleep. This applies if you’re taking the aforementioned “red rooster” flight or the other famous flight of color, “the red eye.” You can try to catch a nap on the plane, provided you’re not sitting across the aisle from a screaming baby. Don’t stop at Starbucks on the way to the gate either. Caffeine not only aggravates sleep, it also aggravates fear of flying.
4. Worries about how you’ll look/do/appear when you get to your destination. Will your presentation be successful? Will your daughter away at school have taken up with a scuzzy boyfriend? Will you still look as good as you did 20 years ago when you fly back to your high school reunion? Will you need a vacation from your vacation when you get back?
3. Fear of germs. In the share-the-air environment of an aircraft, this one did cross my mind even before I saw the woman seven rows behind me wearing a surgical mask. I’m not sure she was more worried about giving germs than getting them. I was happy to be seated several rows ahead of her.
2. Fear of your seatmate. Will you be seated next to the aforementioned cry baby or the huge man who really needs two seats? A woman dressed like the Southwest Airlines Playboy Honey of the month? (Oops, sorry, this last one isn’t a fear if you’re a guy, is it?)
AND THE NUMBER ONE THING TO WORRY ABOUT: Two words: Lost Luggage. Will your luggage be there when you get there? Everybody worries about this one, folks, because it’s a very real possibility! To deal with with this fear, I try to visualize my luggage riding on the destination airport’s carousel, ala the Power of Positive Thinking and the Law of Attraction. So far, this has worked–even when I was a “little” late getting to the airport (because I left my watch behind, remember) which resulted in my luggage being tagged with a yellow fluorescent tag LATE CHECK IN. The baggage carrier kindly warned me she couldn’t guarantee my bags would arrive at the same time I did. But they did–thank you, Southwest. So much for embarrassing luggage labels!
And speaking of labels, when you get over being a fearful flyer, you can wear a brand new label, just like me: WORRY WART. But becoming a fearless flyer is entirely worth the trade off.