T Nation

I Hate Flying


Summary notes: I am deathly afraid of flying. How do others cope with this fear?

No matter how much I rationalize to myself that flying is statistically the safest way to travel, I still get a knot in my stomach every time I step on a plane. I keep assuring myself that everything will probably be okay, but my body never agrees.

My heart starts racing and the only thing I can think about is the damn aircraft bursting into flames in mid-air. Yes, I know the frequency of a crash is one in a bazillion, but that's still only one part of the equation. Risk = frequency x consequence, and the consequence is almost always death.

Then you have the news reports on the occasional crash (like the one a few days ago in Libya), just as I was thinking that I'm finally coming to grips with the fear of flying. And I also happened to watch bits and pieces of Mayday on the Discovery Channel a few nights ago, which got my mind racing once more.

I'm going on a 4 hour flight in a few weeks. I've flown quite a bit before and every single time I was a nervous train wreck. Somebody once suggested I take a sleeping pill just before boarding, and I might just give that a try. For all you guys and galls terrified of flying, how do you cope with it?


You're probably just afraid of death in general.


Are you traveling to Tahiti, or to visit in-laws? Because that'll have an effect on how bad you want to get on the plane.

Maybe talk to a doctor? I believe some people are able to get a hold of a few xanax for flying.


This. My friend is able to get it and I guess it is the only thing that allows her to get on a plane.


Get a benzodiazepine and chill out.


most people I know that are afraid use lorazepam


GENERIC NAME: lorazepam

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Lorazepam is a drug used for treating anxiety. It is in the benzodiazepine family, the same family that includes diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), flurazepam (Dalmane), and others. It is thought that excessive activity of nerves in the brain may cause anxiety and other psychological disorders. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that nerves in the brain use to send messages to one another. GABA reduces the activity of nerves in the brain. Lorazepam and other benzodiazepines may act by enhancing the effects of GABA in the brain. Because lorazepam is removed from the blood more rapidly than many other benzodiazepines, there is less chance that lorazepam concentrations in blood will reach high levels and become toxic. Lorazepam also has fewer interactions with other medications than most of the other benzodiazepines. The FDA approved lorazepam in March 1999.



PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 0.5, 1, and 2 mg. Oral solution: 2 mg/ml. Injection: 2 mg/ml and 4 mg/ml

STORAGE: Tablets should be kept at room temperature 15-30°C (59-86°F). Oral solutions should be refrigerated at 2-8°C (36-46°F). Injectable solutions should be refrigerated.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Lorazepam is used for the management of anxiety disorders, the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety or anxiety associated with depression. The effectiveness of lorazepam and other benzodiazepines has not been adequately studied for treatment beyond 4 months. Lorazepam is effective for insomnia, panic attacks, and is used in combination with other medications to prevent nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy. Lorazepam also is administered before anesthesia and used for prevention and treatment of alcohol withdrawal.

DOSING: The dose of lorazepam is tailored to the patient's needs. The usual dose for treating anxiety is 2-3 mg/day given in two or three divided doses. Insomnia is treated with 2-4 mg given at bedtime.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Lorazepam and all benzodiazepines interact with other medications and drugs that slow the brain's processes such as alcohol, barbiturates, narcotics, and tranquilizers. There have been cases of marked sedation when lorazepam was given to patients taking the tranquilizer loxapine (Loxitane); it is unclear if there is a drug interaction, but caution should be used if lorazepam and loxapine are used together.

PREGNANCY: Lorazepam and other benzodiazepines have been associated with fetal damage, including congenital malformations, when taken by pregnant women in their first trimester. Lorazepam is best avoided if at all possible in the first trimester and probably throughout pregnancy.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known if lorazepam is secreted in breast milk.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects associated with lorazepam are sedation (15.9% of patients), dizziness (6.9% of patients), weakness, and unsteadiness. Other side effects include a feeling of depression, loss of orientation, headache, and sleep disturbance.

Like all benzodiazepines, lorazepam can cause physical dependence. Suddenly stopping therapy after a few months of daily therapy may be associated with a feeling of loss of self-worth, agitation, and insomnia. If lorazepam is taken continuously for longer than a few months, stopping therapy suddenly may produce seizures, tremors, muscle cramping, vomiting, and sweating.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information


I'd make fun of myself for being a pussy. No seriously I would. I'll be damned if I ever let fear control me. I may be a bit of a self control freak, but it works for me.



^ This and I would probably rationalize it like this:

If this plane is indeed going to crash and kill us all, do I want to spend my last moments crippled in fear? Or do I wanna be the guy with his hands in the are screaming "come get some". Life's too short to be scared of ANYTHING. When it's your time to go it's your time to go, might as well make the most of every minute of every day.


I used to have to prune trees and I was afraid of heights when I first started. I learned to get over it; I got to the point where I could look down from the top of a tall tree and not feel anything.

The trick that I learned was to control my thoughts. I learned to stay focused on the present moment and present task and not think about the height or visualize falling; it felt like I was shutting off a portion of my mind. At some point, and after a lot of practice, my fear of heights just disappeared. It helped that I had a lot of opportunities to practice, as I would be up in the trees every day for weeks at a time.

Just remember, as long as the plane does not blow up, you are alive and have nothing to worry about; once the plane blows up you are dead and have nothing to worry about.


You know what's scary? Turbulence. And I don't mean the kind where the plane shakes a little. I mean the kind where the plane violently thrashes.

I have only experienced it once in my life, and I almost shit my pants. Luggage went everywhere, and hella people started crying and shit. LOL. I researched it when I got home and apparently planes can handle pretty rough turbulence. I just remember gripping onto my armrests so hard I almost tore one off.


I used to be afraid of flying. Then after 9/11, my fear was mysteriously gone.

I remember the trip we made after 9/11 and there was a suspicious dude on the plane who went into the bathroom with something odd in his hand. He had already violated the request of the captain who announced to remain seated, so this guy was a red flag in my mind. As soon as he went into the bathroom, I looked across the aisle to the big guy (with his young wife and baby next to him) and said, "Did you see that?" He said yes. I told him I'm going to make a move if the guy comes out without the item he was carrying. The big guy said "I got your back!"

Luckily for the suspicious guy (and mostly for myself), he came out with the item in hand.

Anyway, that incident left me feeling empowered in that plane. Since then, flying is just a small nuisance, and not a fear.


Take a quadlude... she'll love you in the morning.

I look at it like this. Many children half my age or less do this every fucking hour or every fucking day. What's the big deal. Yes, something could happen but something always happens... just depends how you look at SOMETHING before it happens.


I suggest watching the original "Final Destination," "Alive" (about the soccor players in the Andes), "United 93" "Langoliers" "Fearless" "Turbulance" and that old Twilight Zone episode with William Shatner to calm your nerves before flying.


I'm not afraid of flying. I HATE flying because the fatty squeezed into the seat next to me takes up all the room, usually smells bad, and breathes with his/her mouth open. Disgusting. I pray for the fucken plane to crash to put me out of my misery.


OP is aware that his fear is irrational. Rationalization does not work in that case.


I think rationalizing it would be him telling himself the stats and likelyhood of the plane going down as he stated he does. I'm not saying try to rationalize it and see there's nothing to fear, I'm saying embrace the fear and face it with courage and not letting it get the best of you. Or does that only work with rational fear and not irrational fear?? lol Serious question.


You forgot "Castaway".

Keep replaying the scene where he pops up out of the water and almost gets shredded by the airplane's engine.


You have nothing to worry about.


I fly 5-8 times a year and it was incredibly amusing when I had my beard... middle eastern guy.. huge beard.. People stereotype like none other.. instead of being upset I just embraced it and had the time of my life.

Now i'm clean shaven so flying isn't as entertaining.. just incredibly boring.


Yes, will the OP be traveling over water?