denkcflyer
Topic Author
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:05 pm

Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Wed May 08, 2019 12:04 am

I know there’s been countless threads on here about fear of flying, but curious if anyone suffers more from anticipatory anxiety than the act of flying itself.

I’ll work myself up for days or sometimes weeks before a flight, but once I actually get the flight over with, I realize how silly my fears were. I actually enjoy flying (sometimes).

I have a flight coming up on the 23rd from DEN-MCI. I’ve done this flight multiple times (hence the username) so I know what to expect. It’s short and sweet. Always some bumps to be expected flying in and out of DEN.

I’m flying Southwest which I know has a good safety record, but of course in the back of my mind I still wonder if I’ll be on an unlucky flight. We take off pretty late, around 10pm...typically I fly during the day, so I think that’s causing some anxiety as well.

Do you prefer flying at day or night?

Thankfully I’ll have my boyfriend with me which should help ease some of my anxiety, and I’ll be flying home to see family which is something I should be excited about. I do have a prescription for panic attacks that I can take as well.

I was feeling pretty good about the flight and not overthinking it. But I made the mistake of watching the AeroFlot crash and it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach.
 
smokeybandit
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Re: Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Wed May 08, 2019 12:22 am

I have a fear of missing my flight. I'm on edge until I'm at my gate.
 
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cpd
Posts: 5896
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Re: Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Wed May 08, 2019 1:45 am

Fear of my luggage being damaged, because one of the bags always had an extremely expensive bike inside it.

Otherwise I don’t mind flying - I’m a fairly relaxed passenger. I dislike 10+ hours on a plane. That’s awful.

We need higher flying, faster planes now! And I’ll pay more for the ticket, just get me there faster. Enough of this slow M0.83 flying - M2.4 should be the go.

What happened in the Aeroflot crash is must unlikely to happen, that’s a very rare incident of a plane suffering a very serious event and being impacted in a way that isn’t normal. You’ll be okay.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Wed May 08, 2019 5:11 am

Im right there with ya. Ive flown tons of times and still get inside my own head before every flight.
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The thoughts and opinions shared under this username are mine and are not influenced by my employer.
 
denkcflyer
Topic Author
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:05 pm

Re: Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Tue May 28, 2019 3:06 pm

Well, thought I’d give a little update for anyone interested.

Flight #1 from DEN to MCI was delayed. All the airport bars closed so no wine for me. Then we get on the plane and are told the flight attendants will be sitting the whole time and no drink service due to turbulence. That of course made me really nervous, I was expecting some gnarly turbulence. It ended up being consistently bumpy, annoying, but not really that scary. After this flight, again I realized how silly my fears were and was excited to start flying more frequently again. It was nice also the flight was half empty.

Flight #2 - MCI to DEN, was an experience. I didn’t feel as nervous when we first got on. About halfway through the flight, one of the attendants told us to look out our window at the “lightning show”. It was crazy. Really cool, but part of me started to get nervous due to the AeroFlot flight that apparently got struck.
I managed to distract myself and fall asleep, and then as we began our descent, about 20 mins away from Denver, the turbulence started to get crazy 9’e minute we’re flying through thick fog, then one lightning much closer to us, and then a blizzard of snow! There was lots of shaking, big dips, and feeling like we were just being thrown around in the air. I started thinking to myself how do the pilots even see when flying through thick snow like this? Anyway, it was definitely the scariest ride I’ve encountered, and didn’t necessarily help with the anxiety.

But I suppose if that’s one of the worst things I can experience flying, and the pilot made it despite the crazy weather, that should be reassuring to me about how much turbulence a plane can handle.
 
a320fan
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Re: Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Tue May 28, 2019 9:21 pm

denkcflyer wrote:
Well, thought I’d give a little update for anyone interested.

Flight #1 from DEN to MCI was delayed. All the airport bars closed so no wine for me. Then we get on the plane and are told the flight attendants will be sitting the whole time and no drink service due to turbulence. That of course made me really nervous, I was expecting some gnarly turbulence. It ended up being consistently bumpy, annoying, but not really that scary. After this flight, again I realized how silly my fears were and was excited to start flying more frequently again. It was nice also the flight was half empty.

Flight #2 - MCI to DEN, was an experience. I didn’t feel as nervous when we first got on. About halfway through the flight, one of the attendants told us to look out our window at the “lightning show”. It was crazy. Really cool, but part of me started to get nervous due to the AeroFlot flight that apparently got struck.
I managed to distract myself and fall asleep, and then as we began our descent, about 20 mins away from Denver, the turbulence started to get crazy 9’e minute we’re flying through thick fog, then one lightning much closer to us, and then a blizzard of snow! There was lots of shaking, big dips, and feeling like we were just being thrown around in the air. I started thinking to myself how do the pilots even see when flying through thick snow like this? Anyway, it was definitely the scariest ride I’ve encountered, and didn’t necessarily help with the anxiety.

But I suppose if that’s one of the worst things I can experience flying, and the pilot made it despite the crazy weather, that should be reassuring to me about how much turbulence a plane can handle.


Honestly maybe you should try out some flight simulation and get a decent understanding of how aircraft are operated. If you get somewhat proficient in a high fidelity desktop simulation you’ll have an idea of what the crew are dealing with in these situations and how really it’s quite routine for them. Maybe that might lower the anxiety somewhat. I’ll give the same recommendation to any member on here who may have flight anxiety.
A319, A320, A321, A330-200, A380, 737-700, 737-800, 777-200ER, 777-300, 777-300ER, 787-8, Q300
 
UALFAson
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Re: Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Tue May 28, 2019 10:07 pm

I used to never be bothered by flying--I've been doing it since I was a baby--but about 3 years ago I took several very turbulent (at least, to me) flights over the course of several weeks and haven't been quite the same since. Like you, I work myself up the night before and morning of a flight and even think about flaking out and not going, but then feel silly once I land. A few thoughts:

--STOP watching those "Air Disaster" shows. Yes, they're interesting and incredibly well done now, especially with all the CGI re-enactments, but they mess with your head. That is not normal life.

--A trick I read on this site that put things in perspective for me: there are 43,000 flights in the U.S. every day carrying 2.6 million passengers. The FAA says they handle 15.8 MILLION flights a year. You don't assume the airplanes taking off before yours are going to crash or have some serious problem. You don't look up at airplanes flying overhead and think they are going to crash. So why do you think you are so special that the one flight you are on is magically going to be the one that has some catastrophic occurrence? Get over yourself! (again, said with love, because I am saying it to myself too)

--Remember to breathe. When we get nervous we tense up and often subconsciously hold our breaths, which then causes a lack of oxygen to our brain, which makes things worse. Download one of those directed breathing exercises and listen to it when needed. I discovered this by accident on a particularly bumpy PTY-MIA flight a few months ago--on AA's PTVs, they actually have several 8-minute directed breathing "videos." I was surprised at how much they helped me.

--Now that you lived through this MCI-DEN experience, remember that the next time you get nervous. I was chatting with the pilots from that PTY-MIA flight as we disembarked at the same time--it was extremely windy and was maybe the bounciest takeoff climb I have ever experienced. Even the flight attendants later were reassuring nervous passengers that it was indeed rough. But when I joked with the pilots, they just shrugged and said, "yeah, it's always like that there." In fact, in other instances where I have chatted with pilots after what I consider to be a rougher-than-normal flight, I have never gotten a reaction other than, "that was nothing" or "no big deal." These guys (and gals) are professionals who are well trained and well experienced. This is their job and they want to get home to their families in one piece just like you do.

Hope some of this helps. Happy travels!
"We hope you've enjoyed flying with us as much as we've enjoyed taking you for a ride."
 
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LTU932
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Re: Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Tue May 28, 2019 10:24 pm

I do get a bit nervous before and even after the flight, but once I'm in flight, I'm relaxed.
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
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N776AU
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Re: Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:58 am

denkcflyer wrote:
but curious if anyone suffers more from anticipatory anxiety than the act of flying itself.

:wave: Right here. As a very young kid, I loved flying, but then just before 6th grade for some reason a switch inside of me flipped to total fear. Did I mention that was right in the middle of a flight between Dallas and Albuquerque? It was. Over the years I've managed to shake that on the plane and enjoy flying again, but quite often before flights I'll still feel some jitters the day or two before, despite knowing the hard numbers and the odds of basically 0%. Sometimes I have to tell myself, "you just drove 20 miles on I-285 to get here, and you're anxious for this?"

I've found for me, a good coping mechanism is to hyper-familiarize myself with what's going on. I like to study the approach and departure patterns of the airports I'm going to (as well as just in general, but I digress), so that way I know exactly what to expect (like making a hard left turn out of Washington-Dulles' runway 30 less than 500 feet off the ground, etc). I'm good once airborne, but if it ever starts to strike, I've gotten pretty good at distracting myself using wifi or other entertainment items. Free in-flight messaging is great if you have friends who want to chat.

Hope all works out.
Careful, doors are closing, and will not reopen. Please wait for the next train.
 
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einsteinboricua
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Re: Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:34 am

I suffered from what doctors and I concluded was a panic attack back in January 2018. While on an E175 flying DCA-PHL, on approach to PHL we made a very tight turn and hit turbulence as we did. That set off a chain reaction in me that I had never felt before. I had to be wheelchaired to the next gate since I couldn't walk, and I ended up missing my connection because my heart rate was so high, I was afraid flying would make it worse.

It's calmed down ever since and I'm glad to say that I've been weaned off of medication, though I still get anxious whenever I'm about to fly a regional jet (CRJ-200s, for some reasons, trigger me badly). Usually the day of departure I'll be skittish and will refuse to drink coffee at any time until I'm up in the air. The day I return is like nothing.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
Kent350787
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Re: Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:13 am

I've never needed medication, but there have been many times I've been pretty scared of flying. Travelling with kids has helped, as I talk them through the process, and my youngest has already decided he wants a career in aviation.

My worst recent experience was DC-BOS a couple of years ago, where I starting getting really anxious about traffic density and had no real idea about the flight paths for the route.
 
upperdeckfan
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Re: Anticipatory pre-flight anxiety

Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:10 am

Fear of forgetting my passport at home and be denied boarding.

Have even stop in the shoulder midway to the airport to make sure (again) passport is on the backpack
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