I can't remember the order in which things happened, but there was a tremendous crackling noise, a burst of light, and what felt like the snap of a whip across the plane. People screamed. We stared at each other wide-eyed. What the hell just happened?
My local gym opens at 5 a.m. or I can just go for a short run in my neighborhood, first thing. (I used to think I didn't have time for a workout on a travel day, now I won't go anywhere by plane without a good workout first.) It keeps me calm throughout the day.
I married a man whose obsession with flying machines began in elementary school with radio-controlled planes and helicopters. He eventually graduated to full-size planes and a career in aviation, but when we met 20 years ago in Louisville, Kentucky, he was a biomedical engineer with a yen to fly.
The month and days preceding the Jewish High Holidays are when we do what is called a heshbon nefesh: an accounting of the soul. We talk to the folks we may have had challenges with in the past year and we strive to make amends -- to ask for forgiveness.
I can sit here and tell you all of the statistics you already know. But... that won't really help much. Although I don't have an exact recipe for getting rid of your fear, I can give you a few tips on how to cope with the anxiety.
My anxiety has been with me since takeoff thanks to Captain Ahab and his smugly menacing announcement that "it might get a little bumpy the next five minutes, so I suggest you remain in your seats and buckle up real tight."
Anyone who has traveled alone and tried to book a single room in a hotel knows the odds are poor: There probably isn't such. The "single room" will be a double room with just you as the occupant, and the tab will be for a double.
If you have flight anxiety, however severe, keep these tips in mind next time you travel. You have more control over your fears than you think, and once you manage them, flying will become a more enjoyable experience.