Why Doesn't Everyone Love Flying Like Me?
I was on a train travelling into London thinking about the course I was planning to run at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, to help people overcome their fear of flying. I started pondering on what makes people afraid of flying, travelling on trains, the underground etc. and it lead me to think back about my experiences of flying and why I wasn't afraid. 

I remember my very first flight, it was on a school skiing holiday when I was 14 years old. It never occurred to me to be afraid. Like many others I'd never flown before as it wasn't very common back in the early 1970's but I remember I was so excited to climb up the rear steps (which seem to come out of the tail) into the aircraft. I guess I didn't overthink it, I didn't have lots of negative stories or images to scare me. I thought nothing of it. I was so excited with butterflies in my stomach. I loved the flight out and the one back.

I never had the chance to fly again until I applied and was accepted to join Laker Airways as a member of their cabin crew. I was 20 years old. What on earth was I thinking?! It never occurred to me when I applied and accepted the job that having only done 2 flights I wouldn't like it or I'd be afraid.

The next flight I took was to Los Angeles via Bangor, Maine (aircraft couldn't get there in one hop in those days!) as a member of cabin crew. I had learnt all about the things I needed to just in case something went wrong: we practiced evacuating the aircraft, jumped down slides, fought fires, wore breathing apparatus, up-righted life rafts and much more. Did this new found knowledge about what could happen put me off? Did it make me afraid of flying? No not at all.

When I was crew I never really understood why people had a fear of flying or how crippling it could be. Some people manage to fly but are anxious and fearful throughout whilst for others the fear is so intense they can't even look at the photo of an aircraft let alone board a flight or they used to fly with no problem but have now become anxious. So what is going? What makes me and everyone else that happily board aircraft different to those who have a fear? The answer is very simple, in basic terms, the difference is in what we are thinking, what we are imagining is going to happen, the story we are telling ourselves. The brain will then react accordingly: activating the appropriate parts, releasing the necessary chemicals that in turn prepare us physiologically to respond - either to relax and enjoy the flight or prepare for danger. 

What do you need to do to overcome your fear? ANY fear? Again the answer appears to be very simple - change your thoughts, think differently. But being able to do it is the interesting part! 

For further details on my half-day courses at Brooklands Museum go to /course-at-brooklands-museum/