Friday 30 January 2015

Fear of Flying? No. Fear of Missing the Plane? Always.

I'm not afraid of flying, I'm afraid of missing the plane. 

On the days I have to fly, my shoulders freeze level with my ears, my stomach turns to jelly and I relive all those near misses of my childhood. 

As a family, we've spent our lives going back and forth between Spain and England. Whatever the hour, we always had to stop off at our shop on the way to the airport. There was always a chandelier to dissemble / assemble/ pack or deliver. It was always a race against time. 

We would arrive at the airport at the skin of our teeth (except for that time we arrived a whole day late). My Mum would drop us off at the airport, then speed off to the car park which always seemed to be miles away. Her parting words were a variation on: "Save Yourselves! Hopefully we'll meet on the other side!" The thought of my Mum not making it to the other side filled me with dread. 

My prefered way to fly is alone. My husband is Colombian so customs is always stopping him, because, you know, obviously all Colombians are drug dealers. Oh wait, no they're not! ( That joke just isn't funny people!). So far, I'd say American customs are the most unwelcoming. In fact they should just give us foreigners all orange jump suits so at least we can get into character of the criminals they think we are. 

I like flying alone so I can be in control of my time. My tradition is to eat a BLT at the airport. My tradition is under threat because all the cafés insist on adding chicken to what is a perfectly good combo. Isn't one dead animal enough? 

At least on long haul flights I can watch all the soppy films my husband refuses to watch at home. On a recent flight to America, I kicked off my shoes, wrapped the fleecy blanket and selected The Fault in Our Stars. 

In the seat next to me was a little boy, about five years old. When I saw him, my heart sank. I thought he might spend half the flight crying. In the end, the only person wailing was me. 

Have you seen that film? It destroyed me. I sobbed the whole way through. Lucky for me I had noise cancelling head phones so I didn't have to put up with my racket. At one point I noticed my little neighbour, crayon frozen in the air, staring at me in alarm. 

My condition deteriorated after I ordered the wine and chocolate special. I arrived at my destination looking like I'd been stung in the face by a jelly fish. 

Having said all that, my family is all over the world, so thank goodness for planes!

Feel free to offload your flying-related traumas in the comments section... 


Anonymous said...

Same for me. I always worry about missing the plane (nearly did last year after going to wrong gate) and I much prefer flying on my own too. I hate the sausage factory processes in flying and get really grumpy and stressed. Better for everyone.

Emily Benet said...

I know, if you're with someone, they notice you're a bit anxious to get there and say, 'calm down, we'll be fine', and you have to pretend you're fine! When you're alone, you don't have to pretend... because you are fine, because you're in control... you know what I mean!