A small wave of apprehension rippled through my mind as I sat on a flight bound for the French Alps. My daughter was by my side, fastening her seatbelt, excited to be on an aeroplane. My husband looked out of the window on her other side. I felt sure he was thinking was I was thinking. Just two weeks before, a German Wings aircraft was plunged into the mountain face of the Alps – not so far away from where were headed – on purpose by the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz.
I’ve never had a fear of flying so this was a new feeling. I am usually a very relaxed passenger. I breezed my way through the flights on my world trip without the thought of anything bad crossing my mind. We have travelled extensively over the past few years too. My husband gets tense but I am good at zoning out. But recent events had, on this occasion, made me slightly uneasy. No doubt exacerbated by the life-changing events from the past few months: my husband’s brush with death at the hands of meningitis making the vulnerability of life a little more fathomable.
As we waited for our flight at Heathrow airport, I saw a German Wings aircraft pull out from its dock. It brought back visions of the aircraft remains, scattered on the mountains. 150 people no longer living in this world. Having been so close to losing someone myself, it made me even more affected by the news. I felt sick to my stomach as I watched the news conference confirming this was no accident. My heart went out to the friends and relatives of the victims who will be haunted by this forever.
I know this is a rare incident but, it being so close to home, and with several high profile aviation incidents happening in just over one year, it does make you think. Should I be afraid to fly? Two Malaysian airline flights. Gone. An AirAsia flight. Vanished. Looking at the statistics though does put things in perspective. These catastrophic events make the news headlines but we are more likely be involved in a car accident or die from smoking. In fact, it’s thought we have around a one in 11 million chance of dying in a commercial aircraft. But when these random events happen, they do make you jittery and a little anxious. I remember having a similar feeling the first time I got on a tube after the 7/7 terror attacks in London.
But travel I will continue to do, and with that, fly. I refuse to stop doing what I love, from seeing the world and letting my daughter experience what else life has to offer.
So, batting away those thoughts lapping around the corners of my mind, I fastened my seatbelt, took a deep breath and smiled at my daughter, allowing the doubts to float away. I focused on entertaining my daughter, helping her with her sticker book, answering her many questions and holding her that little bit closer to me. The next hour and a half passed, uneventfully. I breathed a sigh of relief as we disembarked.
Have recent events made you think more about flying? I would love to hear your thoughts, just comment below.
If you do suffer from a severe fear of flying, hypnotherapy is one way to tackle it. Click here for a list of qualified hypnotherapists in the UK