I have flown to New Zealand from London three times this year, which while amazing & lucky that I got to see my family so often, is also marred by the fact that I am terrified of flying. Being trapped in a fiery tin can of death for about a week of my life this year has taught me a few things:
Crying on a stranger is not as awkward as you think its going to be.
Old men are the best because nine times out of ten they will offer you their tie or handkerchief to mop up your tears. Drunk youths are a good option too, they will regale you with a story of the time that their mate Gary forgot to pack any clothes on his trip to Magaluf and spent the entire week in the same outfit. Lol through the terror.
A double vodka is always a good idea
Yes the person next to you will think you are an alcoholic, but the besmirching of your fine reputation is totally worth it if it dulls the terror a little during takeoff. Most airlines will also offer something unique on long haul flights (Qantas with gingerbeer, Singapore Airlines with the Singapore Sling) and if its not a cocktail already adding vodka to it will really create something special.
A pilot making a sudden left hand turn is never good
Fuck you pilots.
Never watch action movies while in the air
As much as you want to watch Mad Max because you hear its actually a feminist fun fest DON’T DO IT. The soundtrack of an action movie along with the crash, bang, pow will keep you on the edge of your seat – not good when the terror is already bubbling just beneath the surface. Rent the movie when you are firmly on terra firma and stick with a rom com, Disney or Gilmore Girls while you are at 37,000ft.
I will always be calmer if one of the flight attendants has a moustache
I have no idea why, but having an older guy with a moustache hanging around the cabin really puts my fears at rest. Maybe a part of my brain thinks it will be something to hold on to while we all plummet to our dooms.
The new A380s are amazing
These planes are a totally game changer. The turbulence is less sharp and more swaying, it really takes the ‘IMABOUTTODIE’ factor down to about an 8/10. I would pay extra to fly with an airline that has them, and coming from a girl that few China Southern for the price that is saying something.
Children are terrifying
I could not care less about your child crying during takeoff, that’s what headphones and Taylor Swift on repeat are for. However if your child suddenly darts to the bulk head door and starts playing with all the levers I will kill them.
My super power is making turbulence start as soon as I a) get given a hot drink or b) go to the bathroom
Every. Single. Time.
Audiobooks are a game changer
Sometimes music just can’t quite drown out the feeling that at any moment a missile that the Russians have sold to someone might shoot you down, audio books are the answer. Choose an author that you have read before, make sure that the narrators voice is soothing and away you go. It will be interesting enough to focus on during turbulence but soothing enough to lull you to sleep if possible. I have about 20 different Terry Pratchett books on my iPod and I am saving up for Harry Potter – because anything narrated by Stephen Fry is literally the dream.
Reading a book about an escape from North Korea works pretty well too
On my most recent flight I read this incredible book by Yeonmi Park, about her life in and escape from North Korea. Reading about such a horrific tale (written so well) really puts this temporary fear into perspective.
Its always worth the terror to get to the destination
I got to hug my cats at the end of the flight. Totally 100% worth it. Oh and my family, they are great too.
Planes don’t always crash
Every single plane I have got on to in the last few years I knew in my heart of hearts that it would crash and we would all die in a horrific flamey way. Turns out that even though I was utterly convinced it would happen…it didn’t.