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Guilt and fear when travelling with children

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  • Guilt and fear when travelling with children

    Sorry this is long.
    I never used to fear flying, in fact I loved it. I flew long haul, short haul, in light aircrafts, in a military plane that was practicing take offs and landings. No problems whatsoever, flying was just a mode of transport. But at some point it began to change, in retrospect it was after becoming friends with a couple of people with a fear of flying one of whom knew someone who changed flights last minute and thus avoided being a major crash and avoided a light aircraft crash themselves and i met someone else who had been due to fly on a flight that crashed the day before. All in all this started to make me feel differently about flying, it became something potentially dangerous.

    By and large it's not been too bad, i have never had to miss a flight or arrange travel around avoiding flights. Now I am generally fine except during take off I have to read a book or something, I hate looking out of the window or around the plane before the seatbelt sign is off. However I hate turbulence to the point of wanting to cry. Generally this is not an issue as I normally fly shorthaul on a route that I have not once experienced turbulence on despite flying it hundreds of times in all weathers, times of day and year. It's smoother than being in a car or train.

    However recently I experienced a bit of turbulence on a different short haul route that flew into a big black cloud just after take off. It wasn't really bad but it was like this big "thu-lug" with a little drop a couple of times, it made all the children laugh and squeal. But it will made me terrified for the entire journey and dread the long haul we had planned. I became obsessed with accidents and was convinced we were going to crash( I have behaved the same way a few years ago before I had childrdn) But I told myself that once I was on the flight I would be ok.

    I had a horrible flight. It was a night flight which I hate as I can't sleep sat upright and being in what is effectively a darkened room surrounded by hundreds of dead to the world strangers creeps me out. The first couple of hours were ok but once lights were out and everyone was sleeping they put on the seatbelt sign first for passengers and then the pilot asked flight attendants to take their seats. I think this has happened on nearly all long haul flights I have been on, but this made me want to sob. I felt so utterly alone, and convinced something would happen. I felt such guilt that I had taken my little children away from their homes where they have happy little lives and now they were going to be robbed of that all because of me wanting to travel. I felt like I had utterly betrayed them.
    The turbulence lasted about an hour with crew in their seats about half that time. In reality it wasn't really that bad at least where I was sitting by the wing. But it did generally feel a trembly flight especially when I walked to the back. But I felt utterly miserable. I just managed it by telling myself it would just be a few horrible hours and I'd have to take it on the chin as there wasn't anything I could actually do. Once the lights came back on and people started waking up I felt better and I didn't even feel too terrified when we had turbulence not too far from landing which was probably worse as it was more rocky. ( I have actually experienced a really turbulent landing once at an airport known for horrible landings t that hardly registered, it seems to be the mid air stuff that gets me)

    But now I'm here on a dream trip and I feel sick to my stomach at flying back with my children. I know logically it's safe, that there is no reason to think anything would happen. But I keep thinking that was the same for those on the air France crash, or linate, that of course at some point there will be another crash and why shouldn't it happen to me as much as someone else. I am also worried about feeling ok about flying in case that jinx's it as once I was terrified of a particular thing happening despite everyone telling me that would be very very rare and I worked really hard to put my anxiousness to one side and tell myself it would be fine. Except it actually happened, I was one of the rare cases ,(in reality far far more common than planes crashing). Again logically I know it would be a massive step forward for both human evolution and aviation engineering if my feelings had any influence on the fate of a boeing 777, but I also turn that against myself and argue that not being afraid won't help me either.

  • #2
    Flying doesn't need to change. It is safe enough. Sure, there are things that can make it safer, and things are being done. Nevertheless, it is safe enough. I can easily say that because we feel it is safe enough to drive and so, since flying is hundreds of times safer than driving, flying is hundreds of times safer than it needs to be for us to regard it - at least intellectually - as safe enough.

    But for a person who must be in control or able to escape to feel safe, flying would have to be - not just as safe as driving, and not just hundreds of times safer than driving - but absolutely safe. Since flying is never going to be absolutely safe, if a person who needs to be in control or able to escape wants to fly, something has to change with the person. This is what we accomplish with the SOAR program. We show you how to train your mind to that your feeling of safety doesn't depend on (a.) being in control, (b.) able to escape, or (c.) being absolutely safe.