I can’t pinpoint when exactly my fear of flying began, I think it was just a result of an overarching anxiety issue, making me claustrophobic and panic about every tiny thing.
I know exactly when I overcame it though, it was on the WORST flight I have ever experienced and I will hopefully NEVER experience again. Every cloud though, it made flying 10x easier knowing that it can’t get any worse than that. So, here’s what happened…
Copenhagen to Manchester Airport
Way back in 2015 I decided I wanted to celebrate my mid 20’s in style. So, me and my sister booked a small getaway to Copenhagen to help me overcome my fear of flying and celebrate my 25th birthday.
The flight there was fine! Short and easy to manage, fairly smooth and a pleasure all around. The flight back from Copenhagen though was none of those things.
My fear of flying lay in the idea of being trapped in a confined space, not so much the being up in the air part. This all fell by the wayside however when we entered UK air space.
Say Hello to Storm Barney
I’d love this story to be something everyone can experience to overcome their fear of flying, handy little tips that helped me get over flying, but it was a little more complicated than that.
During 2015, the UK was hit with their fair share of storms and the one that made travel a little stressful for me, was hurricane Barney. It was the 17th November and I wasn’t aware of the current weather situation back in the UK, as I sat on the plane in Copenhagen airport.
Once we reached mid way up the UK, we started to notice a little bit of turbulence, a few bumps and shakes but nothing major. We then got closer and closer to Manchester Airport and before long, it felt like we were continuously falling out of the sky and then climbing back up higher and higher.
The best part of this was my sister trying to keep her shit together knowing that I was terrified of flying, even though she was equally as scared. Even a nice lady sat next to us said she was a little worried and she flew that route nearly every week!
Coming In To Land
Not only was I starting to feel very sick from all the ups and downs, shakes and jerks, but I was also desperate for a wee. So when I saw we were getting closer and closer to the runway, landing wheels deployed and ready, I was extremely relieved.
Just as we were about to land, I noticed that we were starting to climb again.
It turns out, it was far too dangerous for us to land and the pilot had made the decision to climb back up and fly around until the heavy winds had died down a bit. We must have been circling in horrendous turbulence for a good 45 mins before we were given the all clear to try again.
Everyone was scared, not just me and that gave me a bit of comfort. It kind of set the bar for my brain to be like:
Ahh, ok. THIS is the kind of situation where panic and fear is justified.
People were putting there sick bags to use, some people were crying, some people were meditating and praying (me included). There was talk about diverting us further north just so we could land safely, but soon we got the all clear to start to descend to safety.
When we finally made it through passport control in Manchester Airport, having successfully landed and everyone basically running off the plane, there were people running to their loved ones crying in the arrivals lounge.
I’m not exaggerating, it really was that bad.
Coping With Turbulence and Overcoming My Fear of Flying
I’ve experienced plenty of turbulence in my time, but that was by far the worst. The worst part of it all was the motion sickness and knowing there was literally nothing you could do about it.
I’ve also never used my meditation techniques so much in such a short space of time. Deep breathing does wonders for both nausea and panic.
What I did learn, and what I have experienced now that I’m a frequent flyer, is that every single flight is different. You can’t prepare yourself fully for a flight because you never know when turbulence might hit.
I still get nervous when I step on a plane, but before long, I’m just happy to be able to sit back and relax for a few hours! It gets better the more you do and even though the first few times you force yourself onto a plane may be paralysing, I promise it gets easier and easier.
Need a bit more advice on overcoming flying or maybe you want to share your flight nightmares, drop me a message below!