Fear of Flying

Ellen Rohr
Contributing Writer
Bare Bones Biz

Congratulations on your promotion!  Your boss is a smart cookie for seeing the promise and potential in you.  It’s cool that he is offering formal training classes, too, so that you can both benefit from your expanding skills set.  He’s willing to pay for the classes and for your time, airfare and hotel expenses?  Nice!  The classes are in Boston?  Oh, good for you!   Boston is a wonderful town, knee deep in historical sites and fabulous dining establishments.

What?  You don’t want to go?

Oh.  You don’t want to fly.

If you choose not to fly, your career could suffer.  Worse, you are saying no to a wonderful, available miracle of our time.  In a single day, you can fly to any point on this planet.  How cool is that?

Don’t say, “No!”  Say, “I’ll GO!”

As a veteran traveler, I offer these tips for making the most of your flying experiences.

Packing Pointers

• Consider air travel as recharge time.  Pack a carryon full of fun stuff:  Your iPod, a brilliant book, juicy gossip magazines, a deck of cards.

• Check on the latest rules from the Transportation Security Agency – TSA – prior to your trip.  Don’t expect reasonable rules…just get clear on what it will take to get through the security checkpoint.

• The airlines may lose your checked bag.  So, wear something comfortable and presentable.  Avoid white and tight.

• You’ll be taking your shoes off at the security screening.  Wear socks without holes.

• You know the nice foam earplugs that you use with power tools, or when mowing the lawn?  Put a pair of those in your pocket.

Get into the Zen Zone

• Adopt a sense of adventure.  You may not get where you want to go right away.  Accept the ups and downs and go with the flow.  You will get a lot of opportunities to practice living in the here and now, in a graceful way.

• Get to the airport two hours prior to your scheduled departure.  Make sure you have a window seat.

• Do as directed through the security check.  The TSA folks have a tough job…so be kind to them.

The Blast Off

• Be at the gate 30 minutes before the flight is scheduled to leave.  Board the plane as directed.  Squeeze yourself into the too-narrow seat.

• Put your earplugs in.  You can still hear what you need to hear (“This is flight 3456, with service to BOSTON.”) The plugs will temper the sounds coming from the Fran Dresher sound-alike in seat 3A.

• My favorite part is the Blast Off.  The plane picks up speed as it rolls down the runway.  Put your head back on your headrest.  Don’t fight the flight.  Close your eyes and relax as the pilot pulls the nose of the plane up.  The centrifugal force pushes you into your seat as the plane climbs up up up and over the clouds.  You’re flying!  It feels great.  When the plane levels out, look out the window.  It is always sunny at 30,000 feet.  The cloud layer below is a chaotic sea of white foam.  On a clear day you can see what land-bound engineers envisioned as they portioned off land, created ribbons of highway and stacked steel and concrete into skyscraping towers.  It’s beautiful.  Don’t deny yourself this experience.

• Pilots pride themselves on smooth landings.  If you get one, compliment the pilot on the way out of the plane.  If it’s bumpy, hang on the armrests and remember to breathe.

A Lot of Work, A Little Play

• Plan to do a little bit of sight seeing.  There is ALWAYS time between training sessions and convention meetings.  Walk around the city.  Visit a museum.  Stop by a historical site.  Take a tour of a famous house or place of business.  Do SOMETHING unique to the area.  Get the t-shirt.

• Enjoy spending time with your fellow conventioneers.  You will learn as much from the between meetings conversations as you will at the classes.

• As the bellman for a restaurant recommendation.  Tip him a couple of bucks for the advice.

• For at least one meal, order room service.

• Do I have to remind you that what happens in Vegas, or Toledo, or Boston…never stays there?

The Kindness of Strangers

• Tip the maid.  When you are heading out the door for the last time, leave a couple of dollars on the dresser for each night’s stay at the hotel.  Tip the doorman.  When in doubt, tip an extra dollar.  Being a good tipper, and the extra dollar will do it, is a nice reputation to have.  Anyone working for tips will appreciate it and may bless you with their kind thoughts.

• Even in the world’s biggest cities, crime is relatively miniscule.  Consider how many people are NOT hurting each other every day.  Do avoid the rough parts of town.  Do notice the little kindnesses that grease the skids of peaceful human contact.  Pay attention for moments where you can help and be of service.  Hold the door.  Give up your seat to a wobbly older person.  Smile.

• Travel is a way to discover each other and ourselves.  Air travel helps you move around the planet faster and has that nice Blast Off moment.  I wish you love, peace and grand adventure in your travels.

NOTE!  I don’t mean to discount your fear or anxiety. I understand.  Driving makes me anxious, though I have no problem flying.  We all have issues of some kind.  And, it may be worth addressing those challenges with a reputable counselor.  For me, meditation and breathing exercises have helped a lot.  I just don’t want to miss out on the

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