Flying anxiety: Thoughts that Run Through My Head When Flying

I’ve been on over a hundred flights, but still have a fear of flying. Without fail these are the thoughts that run through my head every time I fly.

Extra Comfort seats flying to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines
Extra Comfort seats flying to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines

Are you scared of flying and have a similar flying anxiety?

What is the definition of insanity again?

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Flying anxiety: My over and over again thoughts when flying

  • Richard Branson cares too much to jeopardize my flight safety, I trust him.
  • Why is that baby crying so badly? Does he know something we don’t?
  • Okay, we are up the back, is this the safest part of the airplane?
  • If you fly business class, do you have more chance of survival?
  • At least if we blow up, I won’t feel it, but then I won’t get to say goodbye to anyone.
  • Safety instructions? Please, if we are going down, we are going down. Bracing against the seat in front of me is not going to help.
  • Yeah, but we are not going to need the oxygen mask, Are We?
  • Love having my knees up around my ears.
  • If I do all the Sudoku puzzles then I won’t notice the plane taking off.
  • Will you stop squealing lady behind me? What would you know about flying? I’m sure they aren’t taking off too close to each other…. Unless…. “Excuse me are you a pilot? Or an air traffic controller? Well shh you are freaking my six-week old baby out!”
  • Oh shit. I hate this part.
  • I hope there are no low flying geese.
  • Please stay up..please stay up…. Fly.
  • Why is the plane dropping?
  • Shit, we are going down.
  • OMG the plane is about to roll…..uh… no it’s just the wings tipping as it turns.
  • I’m so sick of flying. I’m too old for this.
  • I feel sick, where is the vomit bag?
  • Why have the engines stopped?
  • WTF is all this turbulence?
  • If we landed in the water, is there a greater chance of survival? How long can I hold my breath for?
  • Why doesn’t Craig look worried? Is anyone else on this plane scared?
  • Please don’t talk to me strange person beside me. I am secretly hyperventilating.
  • It’s so damn hot in here, turn on the air con.
  • Phew. Flying altitude reached, now I can relax and watch a movie and drink … waiter…  I mean flight attendant, “Vodka please, make it a double on the rocks.”
  • Hang on I don’t even drink vodka.
  • Oh, look how beautiful the coastline is. Hey cool! Is that a whale breaching? …saved by a killer whale
  • Wow! Cities are just one sprawling, concrete jungle.
  • We really are just specks aren’t we?
  • I’m flying… wheee
  • That can’t be turbulence—shit the plane is about to fall apart.
  • Excuse me, my baby’s ears are hurting, can we hurry up and land? Um… hold that thought. Don’t want you to take the quickest way down.
  • What’s that noise? Oh, it’s the landing gear coming down.
  • Only a couple more minutes and we’ll be touching down.
  • Stop squealing lady! GODDAMN wind is shaking the plane apart!
  • Why is he in brace position?
  • If we drop now, we should be okay. I think we’ll live.
  • C’mon, c’mon you can do it.
  • Touch down. Phew. Breathe. We made it.
  • Just don’t rear end a plane on the way in.
  • Thanks Richard for keeping me safe. Clap the pilots. Man are they amazing.

Check out my crazy flight ritual to help me get over my fear of flying AND what this crazy lady did on a plane when taking off. 

I’d like to declare myself certifiably insane and suffering from a terrible case of flying anxiety.

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Do you suffer from flying anxiety? Here are some of the thoughts that run through my head when flying. What are yours?

Do you suffer from flying anxiety? Can you add any strange thoughts you have when flying to the list?

52 thoughts on “Flying anxiety: Thoughts that Run Through My Head When Flying”

  1. That’s hilarious! I have most of the same thoughts when flying. I also weigh the survival rate of window seat vs. aisle seat and clutch my phone in case I need to turn it off airplane mode to make one last “I love you” call to a loved one. Morbid, I know.

  2. Haha I can totally relate to this and my anxiety only gets worse with each new flight. What I do now is recite statistics in my mind when the plane starts to shake… only 1 in 19 million chance of dying in a plane crash – flying is the safest mode of travel – over and over again.

    If they could only invent a plane that wasn’t affected by turbulence!

  3. ‘If I do all the Sudoku puzzles then I won’t notice the plane taking off.” – I am all over this one! I have a whole, insane, routine around flying. It involves my iPod (I don’t care if I’m not supposed to wear it during take off…believe me if we are going down, me listening to Dave Matthews is NOT going to make a difference!), sitting with my legs crossed as I rock (to dampen airplane movement), madly doing Sudoku puzzles (not too easy but not too hard either…I need to rhythmically count to 9 over and over and over again), my ativan nearby (I no longer take it for every flight…yay me!), and alcohol ( a double gin and tonic is best but I’ll settle for a weak ass beer). I am getting better though ( ) but I think, like you, the crazy thoughts will remain. I like to think it all makes me stronger!

  4. Do I have any insane flying thoughts? All of the above.
    I try to do as many activities as humanly possible during takeoff, talk to my neighbor and read a magazine while filing my nails sometimes work.
    But, mostly a glass of wine is what does the trick 😉

  5. This was so hilarious – I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    I’m the complete opposite, I REALLY love flying. 🙂 Such an amazing feeling being on a plane.

  6. Yep! I so can relate….the only thing I like to do is talk to the person next to me, so that I dont realise we are taking off, or landing!!

    It sure is good to fly – I love flying….only because it means that I am going to visit a place. If there was a way to travel without flying, then I would be very happy!!

    Glad you got there ok, and that the plane landed safely.


    1. That’s what I love about flying too. The only thing that makes me keep putting myself through the torture. i just got back from Melbourne today on a solo trip and on the way there I ended up sitting next to an old neighbourhood friend! He spent the whole of take off and some rotten turbulence talking me through it and reminding me how safe it was.

  7. HAHA I love it… Most of that goes through my mind. Especially
    “Please don’t talk to me strange person beside me. I am secretly hyperventilating.”

    and then I do the whole reassure myself. “I’ve done this a hundred times, why should now be any different”
    “i am calm, i am safe … holy crap what was that”

    haha gotta love flying

  8. i always, always pray…i feel like if I don’t pray, the plane will go down for sure.

    and i always wonder on my flights across the continental US, “WHERE THE HECK IS THE WATER FOR A WATER LANDING AND WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THESE INSTRUCTIONS???”

  9. hehe, Funny post. Just bring that one salon article I shared on the flight with you and read it over and over 🙂 Turbulence used to really freak me out, but now I’m cool with it after I learned that it’s almost impossible for turbulence to bring the plane down. Geese, though… That’s a whole other issue 😉

    1. I have a list of facts I like to repeat to myself before flying. you article definitely helped. But those bloody geese had to ruin so much for me now!!

  10. The worst are the tiny planes where you can see the propellers! I swear that if you watch them long enough you start to see them stopping… Even the noise is terrifying when they start to slow down..

    It’s funny how within the last few months I think I have thought every single thing in this post whilst flying. I hate it so much!

    1. I hate those tiny planes. We were in one the other day and I was freaking. We used to catch a sea plane to work when we worked out on the pearl farm. It was a tiny plane and I would freak out on that but I loved landing and taking off from the water wasn’t as bad.

  11. You’re hilarious! Cute post. 🙂

    As I love flying and love nothing more than the feeling of being the air, I can’t say I think any of these things.

    But can easily understand how anyone with a fear of flying feels. Good on you for keeping up your travels despite the fear. 🙂

  12. Haha, this is hilarious! I have thought so many of those things, many times. I always book and emergency exit window seat on the really long haul flights now – best seat in the house, apart from first-class of course. Makes those hideous 13 hour flights a little less traumatic 🙂

    1. We can’t get emergency seats anymore as we travel with children, which is a bummer as I love the extra leg room, especially since I am so tall!

  13. I’ll be the weird one and say I kind of enjoy the thrill of mild turbulence. It’s kind of like a roller coaster ride.

    But yea, I do have similar thoughts like the ones you mention in your post at times. That’s why I need to fly on an airline that provides free entertainment like JetBlue. Keeps the mind occupied 🙂

  14. Merna - Impact Journeys

    Oh Caz, I’m sorry flying is so traumatic for you but I admire you for not letting it stop you from travelling. I’m always relieved when I get in the plane because I know the most dangerous part of the trip (driving to the airport) is over and now I’m safer. Awhile back I saw a pilot on a talkshow and she had a great point – have you ever heard of a plane falling out of the sky because of turbulence? Just doesn’t happen! The rare times I get nervous because the turbulence is so strong, I think of this and relax again.

    1. Great point about the most dangerous part. I love how this makes you relieved when getting on the plane. Isn’t it funny how we never think twice about driving, yet it is far more dangerous than flying.

  15. I can totally relate to what you go through while flying. I’m so paranoid, I would pray all the time and keep my eyes shut during take off and landing. Lately I have been trying to take road trips as much as possible and avoid flying.

    1. I used to shut my eyes too, but I find looking out the window can be strangely calming. I think it fills me with so much awe it takes my mind off the fear.

  16. Yeah, you aren’t alone. I am still freaked out by flying. I’m having to do it more and more and seeing some cool stuff in doing so.

    I take Valium tabs and they seem to help. I still get freaked, but not as traumatic. As a friend says, they take the biting edge off that fear. I did one short flight out of Raleigh to Atlanta with beer but no valium. This was with Ali next to me.

    I can feel every single change in the airplane Going up, going down, rolling left or right. Ali doesn’t even notice, but I do. I am trying to learn to ignore all of that. I have 2 11+ hour flights to Hong Kong and then to New Zealand in under two weeks. I am getting better in that I don’t freak until I am on the flight, not really so much before.

    Here is an extra thought for you:
    It’s a 75 minute flight, does the guy in our row REALLY need to go to the bathroom. I hate flying enough when secured in my seat, I really don’t like standing up.

    1. There’s nothing worse than having this fear. I have six flights coming up this week. I’m getting better now in the fact I only freak out when it takes off. don’t worry so much about it anymore before flying.
      Ha ha. Great extra thought to add to the list!

  17. Hate to do this to you Caz, but I LOVE flying … especially takeoff! The worst part is the pilot taxiing onto the runway and sitting there for what seems like forever … but then, he just floors the throttle and you go rocketing down the tarmac, then the magical moment where you lift off …. weeeeeeeeee! 🙂

    1. I just got off the plane today and I was convinced once again that this was it, it was going down. I swear I felt the plane going down on take off when it should have been going up 🙂 i am insane and I have six flights to take this week.
      I’m going to just have to pretend I am on a magical roller coaster. Bring the fun into it

  18. Wow, I feel like every single word I read here is about myself when it comes to flying! Makes me feel so much better knowing I am not the only one who experiences this type of fear. I am meditating a lot though and sometimes it helps to go through the flight. I would better take a 6 months ship to get to another continent, but would skip a plane ??

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