As I'm getting older, I'm finding more and more things, that once seemed freeing and exciting, to now be petrifying (i.e. roller coasters and scary movies). Now sadly, I have to add flying to the list...
Now? I can't imagine flying alone, I'd like to avoid flying over night, I grab the person's hand sitting next to me during turbulence, I refuse to check my bags because of lost luggage and baggage fees, I sit anxiously in the terminal wondering why it's taking workers so long to "re-fuel" the plane (I know... there must be something wrong with it), I wait to board, I over fasten my seat belt and I don't enjoy the ride. Since nothing else has changed in life, this sudden fear must have to do with age or the gained insight that bad things can happen to anyone... anywhere.
In fairness, I didn't have the best experience the last time flying. It wasn't terrible by any means but we did hit a lot of turbulence, there was a lightning storm as we were landing, the flight attendants were neither helpful nor polite, and during our layover I walked through someone else's bodily fluid while in the terminal. Yuck. Clearly, I was excited to get to the beach and I was dreading the plane ride home.
Here are a few things that helped make the flying experience more positive and enjoyable:
A few flights ago, I stopped wearing my contacts on the plane. It's just too much of a hassle if I decide to take a nap since I hate sleeping in my contacts. I seem to have chronic eye issues (did I tell you about the time I got an ulcer in my eye two days before our wedding?) and there's always a problem. So, along with not wearing contacts I bring eye drops since planes of notorious for drying things out. That's also why I bring decent chapstick. And I bring a small mirror so I can make sure I look normal before stepping off the plane...
For health reasons, I bring my inhaler and my wet ones came in handy when I had to wash my feet in the terminal after stepping in someone's "something wet". Gross. But they also come in handy to wipe down the armrests or the TV/volume buttons on the seat. Oh, and the gum is so my ears don't hurt. That's a health reason, right?
For entertainment, other than my iPhone, I enjoy having my tablet which I use as a reader and for games, and headphones to listen to music and/or watch the in-flight movie or TV. It's really all you need nowadays. I'm reading Pretty Little Liars and I finished book 2 and 3 on this last trip.
I think when you're afraid of something, it helps to have a few necessities and a few comfort items to help ease the anxiety... or at least, in this case, to make you forget you're 38,000 feet up in the air and that it feel as though you're on a roller coaster. It's like a bad scary movie.