Subject: fear of flying
I feel compelled to start this thread of fear of flying because I just had an unpleasant flight home from California.

Ok: I wouldn't say that I hate to fly.. but I really dislike/am uneasy about it and it has only been the last, oh, 5 years that I've felt this way. I love, love, love to travel though, and my love to travel outweighs my fear of flying. I absolutely don't want to resolve to road trips. Ugh!

I used to fly a lot. I'd go to Asia at least once or twice a year, and various domestic vacations (I live in Seattle, Washington). I used to vacation every other month - no problem.

I was having this discussion with another Ziner and she remarked that it's the lack of control which one feels when at 28-40 thousand feet. I agree.

The crash of a domestic flight on Jan 31, 2000 is what really slowed me down from flying. It was a local flight (Mexico-Seattle) and several people I know had known someone on that flight. (Alaska Airlines flight 261). Also, I have a girlfriend who lost her parents on the Swiss-Air flight which crashed a few years back, and a girlfriend who was supposed to be on the PAN-AM flight which crashed in Scotland. It just sickens me.

I just returned from a very short jaunt to Los Angeles (2 hours give or take- flight from Seattle) We were asked to show Identification three different times, and I viewed security asking many people to remove their shoes. Even at the gate, just before boarding, they were pulling passengers to check their bags, and their shoes. I was pleased, and felt very secure.

During the turbulent flight (another issue that freaks me out) the video stopped and the flight attendant made the annoucement that someone had been smoking in the bathroom! I was so angry. I told the flight attendant I thought I knew who it was, and she concurred as the woman's seatmate saw her shove a cigarette into her pocket before she went to the bathroom. (I am so aware of my surroundings now) The flight attendant went on to tell me that she's lucky she didn't start a fire in the trash can, or set off the smoke alarms (we would have had an emergency landing). I think I probably would have had a heart attack right there in my seat had an alarm sounded! The flight was already so bumpy and I was very uneasy. I was so furious that someone had the AUDACITY to take such a stupid risk in a time when people do not feel safe to fly. It was only a 2 hour flight for goodness sake! I think she was escorted by gate attendants once she exited the plane. I was searching for her in baggage claim because I was very ready to express my anger at what a moronic idiot she was. I hope she was arrested!

Are there flights still who allow smoking? If so, isn't it dangerous in general? The flight attendant told me that there were all sorts of important wiring which if caught fire, could cause damage. Oh,.. nice. I feel better now. ;-)

So that was another horrible experience... Like to know what to do to remedy this fear that I hate to have! Incidentally, I was on medication when flying - to calm myself.. but I think I need something stronger! It's not like it was even an overseas flight or anything.. I'm trying to take baby steps!!!

Kim, home safely in Seattle