Flying Without Fear – No Xanax needed. Maybe.

Flying Without Fear by Duane Brown, Ph.D. is SUCH a good book that I carried it on flights for about a year… okay, seven. It helped. A LOT.

I wasn’t always afraid to fly. Oh, I mean, I wasn’t *thrilled* but I also wasn’t scared-shitless, like I became after 9/11. It took, no kidding, a good five years to get even somewhat-comfortable with flying again.

I actually had a flight in late September of 2001 and cancelled it. They said it would be safer than ever… “they” being the airlines. Did I believe them? Um, no. But fly, I did, later that year… with this book in my shaking hands.

There is soooooooooooooooooo much to love in this book. I will say that the section on turbulence was the BEST. No, wait, the section on the bells. You know, the ones that ring here and there in the cabin and you’re wondering what they all mean? This book TELLS YOU.

Now, okay, yes, the checking in and the rest is very different from it was in 1996, when this book was published. But that wasn’t the important part for me anyway, you know, as a nervous (scared-outta-my-mind) flyer. Get real! It was the stuff going on in the air! Know what I mean?

This book is crammed with information! Stuff like: Anticipatory anxiety, stress, panic, the psychology of fear itself and of course, coping with the fear of flying. It goes from the moment you decide to fly to purchasing tickets, packing, planning, parking, weather and beyond… with an entire chapter about “Coping on the Plane”… which I found invaluable, along with the following chapter “Developing Your Own Flight Plan”.

Listen, we all know that flying is safer than driving. We’ve heard it a bazillion (and a half) times, at least. We know that 99.999% of pilots care as much as we do about having a safe takeoff, flight and landing (and yeah, the .00001 could only be a terrorist – even hijackers want to land safely and you know what? You just don’t hear about hijacking much anymore. I wonder why that is? Probably not a good thing to be thinking about, is it? Sorry!). Anyway, the point is… flying is safe.

Here’s the thing – when it isn’t safe, you go boom at 30,000 feet… or you go boom when you hit the ground. Either way, there’s not a high chance of survival and GOD FORBID you’re flying over water at the time! The only thing worse than spiraling out of control over land would be spiriling out of control over an ocean! Oh my God, where’s my Xanax! Yikes. Just the thought of it!

(And why am I using language like “go boom”? Am I trying to make it sound cute? Gee whiz, golly, jeepers, isn’t it interesting how that plane full of people went boom! Then, for good measure, I’ll kick the dirt where I’m standing. Ugh. How ridiculous! What I mean to say, in the most adult way, is that a plane crash from the sky is almost always catastrophic. And the trip down is a doozie. Crap, ignore me.)

Anyhow, I’ve read more than a few books about the fear of flying and honestly, this was my favorite of all time. It’s simply written, not too long, not at all condescending, explains absolutely everything you’d want to know, gives you a plan… and it’s just… good. It’s really good.


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