Wednesday 6 April 2011

F is for Flying

...and Fear. I don't like flying. Its unnatural (so are antibiotics and bicycles, but they're different). Every fibre of my being cries out to be on the ground. I'm not meant to be up here, thousands of feet up in the sky, with people wheeling trolleys and drinking gin (yes, please. Make mine a big one) and serving plastic meals and going to the loo and generally being normal. Flying is not normal.

To which people always reply that it's much safer than travelling by car. This is true, but if a car goes wrong, you can stop and get out. In an aeroplane...well, you can't. That's all. And boats are fine, because I can swim (if the worst comes to the worst). And trains...well, at least they're on the ground.

I have a son who's an aerodynamicist. I asked him whether knowing what he now knows (ie how aeroplanes actually stay up) has made him more or less afraid of flying. The answer I wanted was "less". The answer I actually got was "more". This is one occasion when I wish one of my children had lied to me.

(Strangely, as I was writing this I received a text from youngest son: "Landed safely in Melbourne". Phew.)


  1. I agree entirely. I hate being up there. I look at my daughters and wonder how they can be so composed, even enjoying it and looking out the window, while I, grown woman that I am, feel as tense as a tightly coiled spring. The gin can't come round soon enough.
    Any turbulence and I suspect the worst and start preparing to hug the family and say our farewells. I also have the irrational fear that at any moment my feet are going to go through the floor and I will slip out into oblivion. And sometimes I wish that would happen, because then I could stop feeling so scared and miserable.

  2. I wonder how planes stay up too. I don't like the way they dip during turbulence and as you say - I'd rather be on the ground if something went wrong.

    Glad son landed safely in Melbourne.

    Anna :o]

  3. It must be awful to be afraid of flying.......something I don't mind, but I expect each and everyone of us has a fear of somethin.....I have.


  4. I get terrible anxiety about flying but do it anyway then wonder what the fuss was all about. Until next time when it happens again. I think if I went more often I'd get used to it.

  5. I don't like flying - so I've stopped doing it. I'm not particularly scared, I just don't like the queing and crowds and dry throat and popping ears and rubbish food and screaming babies and ... well, you get the idea.

  6. Joanna - sounds as though you have some kind of death wish! But i agree about the floor. Too thin.

    Anna, I agree. Turbulence is the pits.

    Yvonne - you're lucky!

    Karen, I'm with you. I have to do it if I want to get anwhere fast, and at my time at life the slow boat is too... well... slow.

    Patsy, you're right. Airports and queueing and crowds etc etc just add to the misery.

  7. Those 'landed safely' emails are so important, aren't they?
    I don't mind flying - maybe it's being married to a statistician, I just tell myself repeatedly 'this is statistically safer than driving...'!!
    Was lovely to see you today, Frances - hope you got home OK and didn't fall foul of the delays on the tube that Tim and I got tangled up in.

  8. Lovely to see you too, Alis. No the tube was fine, thanks. Perhaps that was the one good thing about having to leave early!

  9. I actually enjoy flying...until I've been doing it for 48 hours (on and off). then it gets old :P

    But I only like flying if it's a nice airline and has video screens on the seats in front. ;)

  10. Trisha, you must have been going an awfully long way to take 48 hours! Wouldn't that take you (almost) round the world?