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July 19th, 2004

Flying Tips

This week I’ll be making one of my rare trips that requires getting on a plane. I’m not going halfway around the world or anything, but I am headed to the west coast, which will be a good five or six hour flight. The problem is that I didn’t get on a plane for the first time until I was 18, and because I’ve only flown a half-dozen times in my life, I still get pretty jittery when I step onto a plane. Sure, I know all the statistics about how safe you are in a plane versus in a car, but that feeling of not having direct control is still a little disconcerting for me.

So, a question to you experienced flyers (fliers? which is it?) out there: what advice do you have for wimps like me to help relax you during a flight, particularly during takeoff and landing?

Posted in Everyday Life

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday July 19, 2004 -- 8:54:11 am
Benadryl or Dramimine.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday July 19, 2004 -- 9:12:34 am
Yeah, if you're really white-knuckle follow Chris's advice.

During takeoff and landing I just concentrate on looking out the nearest window. Seems to work pretty well, keeps my mind off of the ridiculous gravity pull. Of course, after takeoff, it's Bloody Mary Time!

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday July 19, 2004 -- 9:41:05 am
The important thing is to just relax. I'm not too crazy about flying myself, but I have gotten used to it. I'm still trying to get used to flying in a tiny Cessna Skyhawk to do my weekend Traffic Watch reports. After being cramped up in one of those babies, a nice commercial airline flight goes pretty well.

Dramamine always help if you are the nauseous type. I'd suggest bringing some magazines or a book to read, and lots of music. I loaded up my MP3 player before my most recent flight to Florida, and between that and my 3 or 4 magazines, never noticed that we were flying in and out of lightning storms all night. ;)

Landing is the easy part, really. Takeoff can be the worst part, because of all the anticipation built up into one big moment. Just do your best to try and focus on something, like cute flight attendants, or if it helps, out the window at the scenery. Once you get stabilized, at a nice cruising altitude, you should be good to go. :)

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday July 19, 2004 -- 10:01:32 am
Fortunately, I don't get physically ill, it's more the tension I have to try and subside. I've noticed other people that are a lot more nervous than me and sometimes I try to focus on them and think, "I'm cool as a cucumber compared to them..."

Dave -- the last two days I've been loading up my MP3 player with a bunch of NPR shows, audiobooks, mix shows, mix tapes, and new albums to listen to. Hopefully that'll keep my mind off of that possibility of dying in a fiery crash.

FROM: Rafael
DATE: Monday July 19, 2004 -- 3:21:55 pm
Do what I do call your drug dealer…I mean doctor and tell him that you are flying and can he prescribe Doxepin or another type of mild anxiety medication. Take one tablet like half hour before the flight it works best if you wash it down with vodka and the effects are real gradual and before you know it you would not even care if the kid behind you was kicking your chair through out the entire flight or if the engine was on fire. “La la, oh look at the pretty lights…”

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday July 19, 2004 -- 6:06:31 pm
Ryan -- If I can survive flying three hours in a cramped propeller airplane DURING A THUNDERSTORM, you can easily handle being served drinks and snacks while crusing safely. :)

When you put it in the proper perspective, commercial flights look pretty damned good. Good call in loading the MP3 player up with shows, audiobooks. I found that standup comedy CD's were great for easing the tension that flights can cause. Not only that, after a few of those, you are getting ready to land. Not too shabby.

FROM: jk
DATE: Monday July 19, 2004 -- 9:16:28 pm
I started flying at a young age, and boy are my arms tired.

My advice is to bring something really interesting to read, and start reading it after the flight attendant is finished pointing out the emergency exits. Why I fly, I am really not aware that I am flying because I become so engrossed in my reading.

Don't expect any decent food--definitely BYO!

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday July 19, 2004 -- 10:33:09 pm
Wait, if you go out of town who's going to fix my many ADDerrors?

FROM: aharris
DATE: Tuesday July 20, 2004 -- 8:41:15 am
Not sure if this is obvious but...I recommend gum. I fly quite a bit and gum always helps w/ the painful ear popping.

As for could always pretend you're not flying! That's what I used to do. ;) Aside from take off and landing it's usually pretty smooth so you can just imagine you're in a car.

Ok...I got nuthin'...

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday July 20, 2004 -- 11:37:13 am
The best idea, which no one has mentioned: SLEEP. Nothing like waking up 3 hours later and going, "Wow, we're there already?" Easier said than done, I know. ;p

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday July 21, 2004 -- 12:37:00 am
Happy to report the flight went well -- no incidents and actually got in about 30 minutes early... can't beat that...

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Friday July 23, 2004 -- 2:51:56 pm
I had to go on a flight recently. I'm not a seasoned flyer, but I was having the jitters. I don't always have the jitters. In fact, I got on a plane about three weeks after 9/11 and had no problem.

For whatever reason, I had the jitters this one time. You know what helped? It sounds ridiculous, especially since I was 32 at the time: I bought one of the aluminum toy airplanes. Somehow it worked. I think it's because when I was a kid all I wanted to do was get into an airplane. It brought me back and I was actually excited to get on the plane again.

Ok...I got nuthin'...

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