How I Acquired Flying Phobia

May 8, 2015

in Weather Stories

I’ve traveled a lot ever since I was little, and until I was 20 years old I actually liked flying. One flight changed it all, unfortunately. 

In 2001 I was flying Sabean Air (which doesn’t exist anymore, and no wonder) from Lausanne to Helsinki. That leg takes around two hours if I remember correctly, and the flight began pleasantly enough.

The flight attendant handed me my piping hot tea, and I began to read my book. Suddenly we hit very heavy turbulence, and the tea cup with its contents flew onto my lap (aargh). I wasn’t worried yet – turbulence happens.

Turbulence was so heavy that I flew out from my seat a little (my apologies for my potentially inadequate English, it’s not my mother tongue), even though my seat belt was on. That wasn’t what sparked my fear – it was my fellow passengers.

You know, it was my first experience of mass hysteria. The poor guy beside me began to pray fervently and the other one gripped the opposite seat like her life depended on it. Everyone looked like they were prepared to die, even the flight attendants who went to seat themselves.

Turbulence went on for the whole flight, and I was in such deep shock that I honestly don’t remember anything about landing or getting home. After that event I flew for ten years with my new friend, Flying Phobia. These days I’ve managed to wrestle it down, and during the last few years I’ve flown in turbulence without the inner need to scream and ask for the last rites. Yay!

P.S. It really helps to research the flying phobia websites – they helped me tremendously.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

FlyGirlNYC May 12, 2015 at 7:05 am

Good for you! I also suffered debilitating fear of flying post 9/11 – I saw it all happen out of my window. I now fly all over even without Xanax or alcohol and I’m so happy. The fear of flying resources really do work and I also did specific fear of flying therapy.


Liisa May 16, 2015 at 8:17 am

I’m the poster of this story, and I’m glad for you as well! We kicked the phobia’s ass 😉


Rdelrigo August 22, 2016 at 12:44 pm

It takes me a couple benzos and a couple of double shot drinks just to be able to board the aircraft. I've flown 60+ times and hate it every time. My fear of flying is so severe it makes me physically ill up to a couple hours before I even leave for the airport. It's so embarrassing to have to find an airport bar at 7 am if I have an early morning flight. I HATE drinking early in the day.

What kind of therapy do they offer for this kind of fear? I would love to be able to take a transatlantic flight to Europe but that is nothing more than a pipe dream at this point.


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