Fear of flying


I need some advice here. I have an intense fear of flying. I absolutely refuse to get on an airplane. I’ve flown a few times in the past, and I hated every minute of it. I have claustrophobia and I get really bad panic attacks whenever I find myself in situations where I feel trapped. My fear is so great, that there have been times where I had tickets for flights, but I could not bring myself to get on the plane, which resulted in missing flights and losing the money I paid for my flights. I once asked my doctor for help, and he prescribed a sedative to take before flying, which did absolutely nothing for me. The sedative he prescribed was really quite strong-- I had taken it in other situations and it had knocked me out (which is what I was hoping for)–but when it came to flying, my panic was so great that the sedative did nothing. I’ve tried praying the rosary on the plane also, which makes for a safe flight, but it didn’t erase my anxiety. Being on an airplane is absolute torture for me, and I no longer fly. I don’t need to fly. All my friends and relatives live nearby, and I don’t have the kind of job that requires me to fly. The problem is my husband. He wants to plan vacations with me, but he doesn’t like to drive to a destination. I don’t mind driving across the country (I love road trips), but I will not get on a plane. The way I see it, if I’m not willing to fly, and he’s not willing to drive, then we will never have a vacation together. Of course I would love to plan a vacation with my husband, but I can’t get past my fear of flying. Does anyone have any advice?? Has anyone tried hypnosis or other types of remedies?? Any advice would be appreciated.


Have you thought about taking a train? Or how about buying a camper/RV? Try to think creatively about this instead of focusing on the flying. :slight_smile:


I too used to have a horrific fear of flying. In 1980 I flew to Europe and had numerous strong drinks mid Atlantic!! My trip was dampened because I knew I had to get back on the plane to get home. Over the years I have gotten a bit better but I still do not like it. There are “classes” for people like you put on by the airlines; at least I have read about them. A priest told this story to our parish some years ago. The point of his story re: not judging or making assumptions. He was flying, wearing his collar, and the plane hit an air pocket and dropped an unbelievable amout of space. I don’t remember. He said everyone on the plane was terrified, including himself, and some were screaming. A nightmare. They landed soon after and he was so shook he headed straight to the bar and ordered 2 drinks. He sat at the bar and drank the first one w/ the 2nd right in front of him. He then drank the 2nd one before leaving to go meet his ride. He said it was purely “medicinal” and he could not function prior to the drink. And he knows it was a perfect time for someone to judge him and make assumptions. He does not have a drinking problem.


If you do decide to take a plane trip, book a ticket for a seat in the emergency exit or at the front of a class (if you’re taking a flight that has partitioned sections), otherwise, if you’re taking Southwest, be the first in line in the group A and get the seat in the first row (more breathing and stretching room). If there aren’t any classes to help you with this, maybe start by taking commuter trains in your area and then a tourist bus with open windows, and then a city bus. YOu’ll go from roomier to tighter spaces this way which may help you with your fear of flying. Also a few drinks may help too.


FEAR OF FLYING>??!?!?!?!
Blasphemy I say! Hehe just kidding. I have a love of flying, but the only thing I could say is talk to someone whos a pilot. Learn how things are done, learn how they control the plane and do what they do…you’ll feel a lot safer.

Check out www.flightlevel390.blogspot.com Its written by a commerical pilot, and gives you great insight into how pilots handle an airplane…should make you feel safer.

God Bless.


I’ve never flown. Not because of fear, but I can’t afford it.

Now I have a very odd fear - I am scared to death to drive on Interstate highways. I’m fine if the traffic is light, but when I get boxed in by trucks I get terrified.


DH and I both hate flying. He works in the aircraft industry, and as part of his training is regularly shown horrific aeroplane accident videos so he knows what not to do. :eek:
It would spoil my entire holiday if we had to fly. I would spend the whole time worrying about the return journey, and that would defeat the purpose of a relaxing holiday I think.


I haven’t seen one of my best friends to whose wedding I was witness for 3 yrs b/c she lives in Sweden and is terrified of flying… and buses… :o so I’ll be paying attention to this thread, I need the advice!

On a lighter note,

he was so shook he headed straight to the bar and ordered 2 drinks. He sat at the bar and drank the first one w/ the 2nd right in front of him. He then drank the 2nd one before leaving to go meet his ride. He said it was purely “medicinal” and he could not function prior to the drink. And he knows it was a perfect time for someone to judge him and make assumptions. He does not have a drinking problem.

Someone would judge a Catholic priest and assume he had a drinking problem if they saw him having two drinks? Two?!? I assume this is just an American cultural thing, right?


I don’t mind flying. I just hate take-off and landing. I either fly early in the morning when I am on “auto-function” and don’t notice; or I have a hefty drink in the bar 20-30 minutes before departure. I don’t sit next to the window, and say a lot of Hail Marys on take-off and landing.

There are anti-anxiety prescription meds that a doctor can prescribe. I have a relative who had a rough way to go for years flying. The only trip she could make was by car. Her husband has a high-profile job, and they drove everyplace- until he had to go to Europe, and he wanted her with him. She got the meds.


I dunno, IMHO, if you were given a strong sedative and you still can’t fly comfortably, then your husband shouldn’t be putting you in that kind of situation. It’s not like he gets panic attacks when you drive, he just doesn’t like it. So, if you guys want to take trips, I would say either a train, or tell him to get over the driving issue b/c I don’t see why you should have to suffer panic attacks just b/c he “doesn’t like” driving. Just my opinion… :cool:


Maybe you could take Amtrak. Amtrak service is not frequent, but it’s still around for situations like yours, and the trains still go to most places:



on one transatlantic flight from newark to heathrow, (british airways) i have a distinct memory of having WAY too much to drink when we first left NY (those insidious little bottles of wine they give you) - just sleeping for 3 or 4 hours and almost getting sick when we we’re just going over ireland, the sun was rising out my right window and you could see the countryside below from 25,000 feet dotted with little herds of sheep, and the lovely stewardess was offering me runny eggs and yogurt for breakfast. that smell is imprinted in my brain for all time.

ahhhh. i love travel.

to the OP - seriously, a few stiff drinks at the airport bar will do wonders for you courage. (if you’re so inclined to that sort of remedy) - what country are you from and where does he want to go??



check out this landing… pure fog coming into heathrow. all computer landing…


Very cool…but I don’t think that’s gonna help the OP get over a fear of flying :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:


Fear of flying is a phobia, and I’ve heard that it can actually be treated and overcome rather easily. (And after the first 20 flights or so, it gets better!)

Part of the problem is claustrophobia, which is exacerbated by the fact that the airlines now pack as many people into as small a space as possible. (If you have the chance, fly on Air MIdwest, which has large seats, more space, and serves so much champagne, nobody cares about the plane anymore.)

The same problem occurs with the old style MRI machines. It’s like going into a torpedo tube. But for MRI claustrophobes, they will just load you up with so much valium that you don’t care where you are.


Maybe this may help…

Go to your local GA (General Aviation) airfield, spend $40 or so dollars and go for a 20 minute ride in a small aircraft with an instructor.

Your claustrophobia won’t get any help (they’re not called “small planes” for any other reason), and take-off and landing will be tough, but you will experience the next best thing to growing your own set of wings.

Maybe part of your fear is the lack of control on commercial flights. Flying in a small plane puts you in control. On your “test ride” your instructor will allow you/hand over the controls, and let you pilot the plane for awhile. Trust me, once up in the air steering an airplane is no more difficult than driving down a country road!

IMO overcoming any serious fear is the lack of knowledge of what is happening to you. This would be a easy test of yourself… (just please, please let your pilot know your fears in advance!)


I have a pretty serious fear of flying, too, but I have been able to will myself to fly, as well as letting my children fly. (Although I’ll never be a jet-setter!)
Aside from the normal, Catholic thought process of, “if it’s my time to go, then God will take me”, I have also thought of it another way. God could very well be preventing a terrible accident by leading me (or my children) onto the plane. The situation for me becomes one of charity toward another (in-laws, for instance, who would like us to visit) or a trip that means something to my husband, which would mean my obedience or courage, or whatever.
If I am willing to exercise the virtue that God wants me to, instead of acting only for myself and my own thoughts/feelings, then I allow Him to guide me, and that could, as I said, mean keeping me or my children from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Best of luck, I know this is a tough one.


You have my sympathy. I also am not crazy about flying, but unlike you my fear is not so severe or disabling. For me its the take off, once the plane is in the air I am ok (Which is funny since most of my actual nightmares about flying involve me falling 30,000 feet…). I think mostly I don’t like take offs because that is when the plane makes its biggest movements. I also think its in part because I lack control of the plane. In fact, I have thought about flying lessons just to see if that is the case.

That being said, the Rosary helps. Also I keep reminding myself that most dangerous part of the trip was to the airport (Particularly when I was leaving Rome a few weeks ago; Italian Drivers after all :)).

Unfortunately there is probably not much any of us can really offer. Its just a sign that all of us have trouble giving our lives to God and letting him decide when and how things happen. For some it is fear of flying, for others fear of commitment, dogs, spiders, etc.



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