My parents have booked us up for Orlando next summer from Gatwick. What they don't realise is that I have an awful fear of flying.
Every time I think about the possibility of the plane crashing or a terrorist being on board I just get into a panic and tell myself that I'm never going to step on a plane.
The recent missing Malaysian plane and the one that had just crashed on the Russia/Ukraine border obviously haven’t helped my fears. The thought of everyone panicking on the plane including my family and knowing that we're all likely to die if something happened is horrible and sends my mind racing with fear and horrible thoughts.
I've only been on a plane twice and that was when I was too young to be fearful. I'm not actually worried about things like turbulence, but as I've already mentioned, I am fearful of the plane crashing, either due to or not due to a terrorist incident.
I realise that I am going to have to get on the plane for the sake of my family but the thought of it fills me with fear when really I should be looking forward to it.
Are there any words of advice or encouragement you can give me to reassure me and maybe alleviate my fears?
Would Gatwick to Orlando be considered a high risk flight?
I do empathize with you and your fear of flying in view of the very latest Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 and MH 370 tragedies. (My deepest condolences to the lives lost)
I have written a fair bit on this topic in my website (see Fear of Flyinghere). Some find them useful in reducing their fears about flying whilst other more chronic fearful flyers may require deeper therapies. The one leading ex-airline pilot who has done a lot of researches into aerophobia is Captain Tom Bunn. He has even written a Fear Treatment book which is promoted in my website.
My simple message is that, despite whatever you may read about air crashes, flying is still the safest form of air transportation. I have flown more than 25,500 hours safely and I still believe it is very safe. In fact I will be on a 13 hours journey from Kuala Lumpur to London in about 6 hours tonight as a passenger and look forward to it like as if I am going on a bus or train ride. It is all in the mind.
I have quite often mentioned that everything we do in life involves some degree of risk - going to the supermarket, crossing the road, walking on an escalator, climbing up the stair case, etc... Although there is some risk in flying, it is just that one small risk. I always say that I feel safer flying than driving to work. So while flying is safer, it is not risk free. As Captain Sully, the hero who saved 155 lives in the Hudson river crash said, "it is important not to define safety as the absence of accidents".
Whether the route from London Gatwick to Orlando is a high risk flight, I would treat it just like any other flight and board it if I have to travel to that destination.
Meanwhile, MH 17 apparently was not a case where some media has classified it as an air crash (this fact is to be confirmed by the black box). Anyway, it seems that it was shot down (see video of the unverified conversation between the rebel leaders in the Ukraine conflict below). Technically, as far as I know, the plane was probably fine.
You should have control of your life and not let the environment have the upper hand over you. Think positively and believe your plane is safe. I am sure you would feel less apprehensive of your forthcoming flight.
If this still doesn’t work on you, please get a copy of Capt Tom Bunn's Fear Treatment Bookhere or go for his Fear of Flying coursehere
If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim or Facebook here