I posted something last year about how I seemed to have developed a bit of a fear of flying. Embarrassing as it seemed to me – Captain Confidence (When It Comes To Flying) – it was most definitely true. I hadn’t flown regularly in a number of years and I had forgotten about some elements, like the sudden dips in your gut when the plane stops accelerating as much, for example. Basically, I had turned into my mum.
But It’s only taken a year of more regular flying (relatively speaking, not as in flying every day) to get some confidence back. As I’m still on a train (this is part three of what I’m dubbing the Train Trilogy), I think I might share some super-top-tips with all you kids who are afraid of the metal tube hurtling through the sky at speeds too fast for humans and at a height much further up than we were ever supposed to go:
1. Look out of the window
I have found that my confidence in what is going on can be reinforced 300-fold by simply looking out of the window. Getting your bearings, seeing the world around you and knowing what the fucking hell it is that’s making that weird whirring noise can set your mind at such ease. Knowledge is power, as it said on the attract mode to a Mortal Kombat game many years ago*.
2. Research planes
Related to the knowledge thing, in that it’s knowledge, I have found that looking up the plane you’re going to be flying in has a calming effect on me. Knowing stupid little things about it – like how the Airbus A380 comes in so many different configurations – may be boring, but it puts you at ease with the vehicle. It’s like stroking a horse on the nose to bond with it. Though if you tried to stroke a plane on the nose the British Transport Police would shoot you dead.
3. Research crashes
MORE KNOWLEDGE. This is a fairly weird one, though, and ties in with what must be a rather morbid subconscious… thing inside me. I read up on crashes. The bigger and more prestigious the carrier, the more interested I am. It has a calming effect because it lets me know both what went wrong in the crashes – as in, what succession of million-to-one events happened to bring the plane down, thus meaning I understand how unlikely it is for things to actually go wrong – and what improvements carriers have made to their aircraft. Like they don’t all have cockpits that can make a fire uncontrollably large in just a couple of minutes anymore. See the Swiss crash just off Canada, if memory serves.
4. Stop thinking about crashing/read the in-flight magazine
Dull your mind to all stimuli by taking in what is scientifically proven** to be the blandest, most inoffensive writing known to man. It is impossible for your brain to sensationalise anything, never mind how you might plummet to earth in a fiery ball of fire and balls, when you are reading any in-flight magazine from around the world. As such, I don’t dislike them. They’re boring as shit, but they’re indispensible.
5. Travel by boat/train
I’m actually planning on going to Switzerland – or somewhere else, if I have reason to go – by train at some point. I don’t fear dying as much on the steel dragons, as well as the fact that there’s something infinitely cooler/more romantic about going by train. Not in Britain, mind you. Fucking 6%-plus price increases my arse…
Worked for a mate of mine.
Best guide to anything ever? Probably.
*Literally the first place I heard/read that phrase.
** May be*** a lie.