Thursday, June 18, 2009

Petrified of Airplanes

I fly to Texas on Wednesday.

I do not like to fly.

I especially do not like to fly with children.

But flying in general makes me nervous. If the plane so much as gives a funny lurch then I’m positive we’re all going to die. I grip the armrests until my knuckles turn white and I’ve been asked more times than I care to count by other passengers if I’m okay.

“You look terrified, dear,” an elderly woman once said to me.

Well. That’s probably because I AM.

My heart immediately starts to race the second I step onboard the aircraft and am hit with the familiar airplane scent of recycled air. That alone can send me into a panic attack.

It doesn’t help when I read stories about plane crashes. When I heard about the Air France flight that went missing I started to chew on my nails in fear. At first I had hope that perhaps the aircraft went to an island like the one on Lost. But then pieces of the plane were found in the ocean followed by bodies—and I crossed myself even though I’m not Catholic and muttered something like, “Sweet Jesus.”

Then I read about a Continental flight this morning where the pilot ended up dying so the co-pilot had to take over.

So…not only do I have to worry about the plane crashing, I also have to worry about the health of the pilot. I think when I board the plane on Wednesday I’m going to take a good look at the pilot and ask point blank how his ticker is working and does he think he’s healthy enough to fly? If he gives a funny cough I’m going to be tempted to turn on my heel and walk off.

Flying with children just adds to my stress. I have a backpack stuffed with small toys that I’ve picked up that will hopefully distract them. I have a portable DVD player that is all ready to go. I think everything will be okay. I think….

Oh my God, I just have a feeling that my kids are going to turn into monsters. This is the first time that I’m flying ON MY OWN without any help. They sense fear just like dogs. They latch onto any sort of weakness. I’m tempted to pick up harnesses but then I picture myself being dragged down the terminal at top speed.

What if I have to use the bathroom? I suppose I have to lug everything in the stall with me along with my two kids. I can’t very well leave my seven-year-old by himself at a busy airport.

I’ll just have to take it easy on the liquids. Because going to the bathroom on the airplane will just be out of the question.

What if both of the kids take off in opposite directions? Who do I chase first? Do I leave all our stuff just sitting there? But…that’s not allowed these days at the airport. The announcement that sounds overhead every five minutes specifically says that if luggage is abandoned, that it will be destroyed. I can’t have my luggage destroyed! There are adorable Gymboree outfits in there! Oh, and my stuff too.

If we go through turbulence on the airplane I’ll have to pretend like everything is okay.

“It’s perfectly normal,” I’ll tell my kids in a fake voice even though what I’ll really want to do is curl up in a ball and pop a Xanax in my mouth.

Everything is going to be okay.

That’s my mantra. That’s what I keep telling myself when I feel another wave of hysteria coming on.

I can do this.

I’m a grown adult for heavens sake.

If I can survive birthing and breastfeeding two children then surely I can handle a silly little plane ride.

Right?

Right.

39 comments:

  1. Oh my God. Are you coming to SA? WE MUST MEET!

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  2. I took my oldest two boys on a plane when they were 4 and 2. I had to use the bathroom on the airplane and the nice person sitting next to me said she would watch them. I figured we were on a plane, how could I possibly lose them? But the oldest was ADHD so I figured the worst that could happen is he would be in the cockpit bugging the shit out of the pilot. It all turned out ok.

    Take a deep breath... you will be fine.... you could always drug the kids with cold medicine so they sleep? I didn't just say that, did I?

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  3. Absolutely RIGHT! You can handle it.

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  4. I have flown my whole life, but have developed a deep fear of it within the past few years.

    I am flying to NYC next month, without my husband, and I will be taking drugs.

    Also, don't read about how the plane from Brazil disintegrated in midair. Not really helpful.

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  5. Good luck! Everything will be just fine - and SHOW NO FEAR! You are right, kids are like animals and can sense weakness!

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  6. You can do it, girl! (Says the girl who is petrified of flying and has a panic attack just thinking about it.)
    But you, you can do it!

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  7. I used to be terrified of flying but moving across the country from your family and flying every few months cured me. I still get really nervous with turbulence. No worries, you can do it! Maybe have one cocktail first just to loosen up! :)

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  8. You're safer in a plane than you are in a car. Plane crashes get so much news airtime because they DON'T happen often. Relax. You'll be fine. I'd just be saying a prayer the next time I get behind the wheel.

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  9. I am sure you will be fine. I too hate flying...I have actually never flown. But I know you will be fine! Good Luck!

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  10. The hubs is dreadful askeered of planes. My biggest fear these days is that my fat ass isn't going to fit in the insubstantial little seat and they're gonna make me pay for an extra ticket or get off the plane. Now THAT'S a fear of flying...

    Have you flown with your wee ones before?

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  11. The hubs is dreadful askeered of planes. My biggest fear these days is that my fat ass isn't going to fit in the insubstantial little seat and they're gonna make me pay for an extra ticket or get off the plane. Now THAT'S a fear of flying...

    Have you flown with your wee ones before?

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  12. I fly the plane when I'm on it. Yep, I do. By holding onto the armrests. If the plane SLIGHTLY tips right, I squeeze hard ont the left one. Leans left? I squeeze right.

    The people on the plane have no idea they have me to thank for arriving safely.

    Hallie

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  13. It sounds worse than it really is! I traveled with mine all by myself and the kids did amazing. Here's a tip: Dramamine...or benadryl!! Knock them out!

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  14. Right! You can handle this woman! You are super woman aren't you? Aren't you?

    Ok so just take a couple shots before you board.

    Eww, I hate that recycled air too!

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  15. I've flown quite a few times, but not with kids.

    I'm sure you will do just fine.

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  16. I think about three Xanax ought to do it. I'm just trying to figure out who gets how much when.

    I hope you are visiting your hubby in TX...and that he greets you warmly and perhaps with roses (and very unlike how you wrote it).

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  17. Sorry, can;t help. I love to fly. Asoeffinglutely.

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  18. You can handle this. I have complete faith in you!

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  19. Right. It's like giving birth, just breathe and before you know it, it will be over.

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  20. I've flown several times, but only a few times by myself. I'm more nervous about the "before" stuff, getting my ticket, going through security, etc., than flying. I actually relax once I get on the plane. I know, crazy, right? You'll be fine. Just take a deep breath and try not to show your anxiety to the kids 'cause you know they'll pick up on that!

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  21. You are woman hear you roar. You can do it, nothing to it. If there's a place you want go ask the map ask the map ask the map. You'll be fine once the eagle lands. Promise.

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  22. Wish I had some words of wisdom, but I'm the girl next to you curling up into a ball of fear and trying to figure out a way to steal your Xanax.

    Be safe.

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  23. Don't forget to BREATHE. . . it's easy to panic. . .easy to forget to breathe regularlyl which adds to your anxiety. . .

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  24. Good luck. I mean, how bad can it be, right? Kidding!

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  25. Everything is going to be okay! Or at least saying this over and over again will reduce your kids to fits of hysterics. Maybe you can have your 7-year old say it to you several times throughout the flight?

    Good luck!

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  26. Pull up your big girl panties!! You will be fine!! My hubby works in building airplanes and promises they are safer than driving a car. Pack lots of goodies they barely feed you anymore on planes. Have fun and breathe!!

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  27. Just take heaps of Xanax, drink plenty, and let the kids do what they want. If anyone gets narky, then the staff will look after them, at least on the plane. Have fun!!

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  28. Oh I share your fear and loathing of travel, specifically flight. We have the kids pack what they need in their backpacks -- the have the kind on wheels. Makes a huge difference when they can pull their stuff. Yes,I bring them in with me... all three if I have to. My oldest boy is 8 and no way no how will I leave a 10, 8 and 3.5 year old alone in the airport. I am usually fine though, until I hit the plane.

    Remember there are Family Lanes this allows you to pack more than the allowed 3 oz. of liquid. I declare my liquids (bottles of Tylenol, Benedryl, juice boxes and Mojito concealed in Scooby Doo thermos!)

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  29. I don't envy you traveling with children, but the odds are in your favor that everything will be just fine.

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  30. Yes...don't drink anything; and wait to pee until you get on the plane. Because once you are on the plane you can leave your 7 yo in his seat.

    I hope it goes well. Deep Breaths...deep breaths.

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  31. When I've traveled with my son (he's a toddler), several people offered to help--from security to flight attendants--so it was actually much better than I expected.

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  32. When my little darlin's were little the seven year old was scared to fly so the five year old drew pictures for her...of planes crashing into rocks. She's 22 now and still a little demon.
    Before I fly I don't sleep the night before so I can sleep on the plane. Ummm...Guess that's not an option with two little ones. How about leashes? (Just kidding!)
    Once in an airport a harried mother handed me her infant and walked over to the counter across the room. I sat there in shock. I think she must have been from the south because she was way too trusting to be from Jersey!
    Just breath in the butterflies...breathe out the bees...
    And have a great trip!

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  33. Oh I'm right there with ya girl! I am terrified of flying...probably because I had to fly about a month or so after 9-11. Now with all the plane crashes going on, I'm even MORE terrified!

    Good luck with your flight! You are going to be just fine. :)

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  34. Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday! :) Flying with my two kids is my worst nightmare. I flew once with my older daughter when she was about 6 months old, and she is the reason why I don't want to do it again. I gave her Benadryl b/c that's what everyone told me to do, and she acted like a drunken sailor on leave. It was terrible.

    Hope your flight goes better. ;) If I crash on an island, Jack and Sawyer had better be there!

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  35. It's been almost ten years since I've been on a plane. Most of the flights out of my little hometown airport are on those prop planes (crop dusters, as I like to call them)... and you have to fly to Nashville or Atlanta in order to go anywhere.

    One of the last flights I was on was on a crop duster... we hit the worst turbulence I had ever felt. I kid you not, the guy next to me whipped out rosary beads. I am not Catholic, but I was thisclose to yanking them out of his hands to use myself...

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