Monday, September 24, 2012

Fear at 30,000 Feet

I wasn’t always afraid of flying.  In fact, I flew to Paris on Air France with no qualms, one day after a flight to Paris on Air France went “missing.”  I also gave my mom the okay to buy a plane ticket the afternoon of 9/11.

But then, everything changed one day in March of 2011.  Frank drove me to Ft. Lauderdale International Airport so I could hop a flight to see the baptism of my goddaughter.

Isn't she cute?  I bought her this bonnet from Etsy.  I was
unaware she would look like a little pilgrim baby, but I still
love her!
It would be a long flight, from South Florida to Lubbock, Texas, and I would arrive just before the baptism.  There was no room for error, as I also had a connecting flight.

Since I consider myself to be a low-grade narcoleptic, I fell asleep immediately after boarding.  I felt the plane take off.  After a few minutes, I felt the plane start to land.  I woke up out of my half-slumber state and looked to the lady next to me who was calmly reading her Kindle.

This is actually my Kindle, but I was far too
freaked out at the moment to think about
taking pictures.
I had a bad feeling.  And then came the announcement on the intercom.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if it smells like something is burning, it’s because there is smoke in the cockpit.”

WHAT?!  The lady was still reading her Kindle as if nothing had happened.  I debated whether I should just turn my cell phone on and tell Frank that I loved him before I plummeted to my death.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to be making an emergency landing at Palm Beach International Airport.”

Well, since Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach are only 45 minutes away by car, by plane they were only a few minutes apart.  Would the plane land safely before we all died?

“Ladies and gentlemen, the smoke has cleared in the cockpit, but we are going to land anyways.”

Wait, was there a chance that the smoke had cleared and we were going to keep flying to Knoxville?!?!  Why aren’t there parachutes on airplanes, I panicked to myself.

The lady next to me, by the way, had read about 20 pages on her Kindle in this time.  I, however, was crying.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have landed in West Palm Beach.  Please see our ticketing agent to re-book your tickets.”

I told Delta they could keep my money for the ticket (which was $400, by the way) for all I cared, but I was not getting back on one of their planes.  Not to mention, I would miss the baptism anyways.  They refunded my trip, Frank picked me up, and I called my closest family and friends to tell them how much I loved them.  Dramatic?  Maybe.  Over-the-top?  Certainly.  Scariest moment of my life?  Definitely.

I didn’t get back on a Delta plane, or any other plane, for more than a year.  I also refused to fly without Frank.  When we were getting ready for our honeymoon to Italy, I told my doctor of my new flying fear.  He told me he would not prescribe me anything, but I should consider getting drunk.

Just following doctor's orders over here!  Not sure about
Frank's excuse.
So, that I did.  However, it only worked for about two hours of the nine hour flight.  I got my hands on some Xanax for the flight home (don’t judge me) and had some wine (I use "some" pretty loosely here) and was able to stay calm for about three hours.

I couldn't have done it without you, dear friend.
Now, we are planning to fly to Ireland in December, with my sister-and-law, who has a fear of flying just as bad, if not worse, than mine.  So, here’s where the economical part comes in, kids. 

We’re considering hypnosis, but do you have any other suggestions on how can we get rid of our fear of flying?


  1. Go to a different dr and get meds!!! And drink "some" or give me your ticket and you can spend the holiday with my family!!!

    1. Haha, Annie! I wonder if your family would like spending the holidays with my sister-in-law and me? I can make a pie and she'll bring some wine, but I don't know if we're a good replacement!

  2. I recommend getting drunk as well. Does that make me a doctor?

    1. Most certainly! Definitely more so than that whole M.D. thing!