Fear of Flying

I have a confession.

A fear, actually.

A number of them to be exact.

No, I don’t have a fear of flying in the most common sense of the term, the fear that affects about 40 percent of the worlds’ population.  Pretty sure, as a flight attendant that if I displayed the phobia; white knuckle gripping my jump seat, hyperventilating, or Xanax bliss, I would quickly land myself in unemployment.

On the contrary, call me crazy, but I find turbulence entertaining, if only at times annoying when I am trying to walk through the aisle pulling a cart and hitting every passenger with my, what are really, not so big hips (If I got a dollar for every time a passenger accidentally bumped my derriere…).

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I like watching planes take off and land.  I like flying in small planes.  My dad taught me to fly in our family’s Cessna 150 when I was sixteen.  I’ve grown up in a family of aviators; dad’s a pilot, brother’s a pilot, mom’s a flight attendant.  I remember at 4 years old my grandpa taking my brother and I for rides in his Cessna 182, taking off from the sod field next to our house.  Oh the benefits of growing up on a farm.  I guess being exposed to flying at such a young age gave me an opportunity to love it before I knew that it was something that I could fear.  Flying is very safe, and to give perspective, the odds of being killed in an airplane are about 1 in 11,000,000, while the odds of getting killed in a car are just 1 in 5,000.

But, as I mentioned, I have these fears, fears that I hope to never experience.

My Biggest Fears as A Flight Attendant.

(FYI, I’m not trying to make light of those that are legitimately afraid to fly.  I acknowledge that my fears are not exactly in the same category as Pteromerhanophobia (thank you wikipedia), but take it for what it is.  There’s my disclaimer).

I work with this Captain, and he always says, “There are those that have, and there are those that will…”

  • I am terrified that I will accidentally tuck my uniform skirt into my nylons and walk down the aisle like that.  Worst walk of shame EVER!

      I seem to have gotten things together when walking in


    • I fear that I’ll forget a required item, like my manual, or God forbid, my calculator.  A daily mantra for me is, “Where is my…??”  I’m like Jennifer Aniston in the movie, Along Came Polly. I have put my keys in the freezer before.
    • I check, and re-check that I have my badge when I am traveling.  I lost my badge in Greece and that little lanyard is my ticket around the world, and back again.  But, even with the economy in Greece right now, I wouldn’t necessarily mind an extended vacation.
  • I had a dream once that I accidentally went through security and I forgot my uniform, as in, I forgot to wear my uniform.  Yep. That was a nightmare!Tortillas are better all natural, not flight attendants

Tortillas are acceptable all natural, not flight attendants.

  • I’m afraid that I will forget to lock the lavatory door.

    Just remember to lock when in use
  • I’ve woken in the night, and I think, “Did I disarm my door?”  Blowing a slide is not my idea of a fun time, an accidental occurrence would definitely direct me on a different career path.

A flight attendant forgot to disarm her door. Big oopsy

  • I am kinda scared that I might stumble while walking through the airport, falling flat on my face or down an escalator or something like that.
I am a klutz.  It’s surprising that I’m as coordinated as I am when it comes to sports.  But, between riding my bike and falling on the pavement, while clipped in, going for a jog and tripping over my own feet, things only become more dramatic when there are the props of heels, bags, and passengers.

I've fallen off my bike so many times. Helmets required. If I wore a helmet to work, people might wonder though

One time, I was walking down the aisle, carrying a passenger’s crutches, on a mission to locate an overhead bin with space to stow the awkwardly sized walking devices.  As I walked my left foot caught on the strap of a bag that was sticking out into the aisle way, causing me to launch forward, the attention and gasps of five rows of passengers hooked on the drama unfolding. With my arms wrapped around the crutches, I stumble forward, gasping myself, barely catching my fall and the slew of expletives that were moments from impact.  Immediately I turned to locate what, or who was responsible for the excitement.  Locating said culprit, I leaned down, saying in an exasperated tone, “That is EXACTLY why we keep our bags OUT of the aisle.”  The very apologetic older lady cowered like a puppy, quietly nodding an apology.

Another time, I fell flat on my bum, in the middle of a sidewalk at LAX, while waiting for the employee shuttle. The reason?  My suitcase doubles nicely as a seat, but this time I wasn’t expecting a rolling, swivel chair.  The pilots, crew members, and other various people observing the scene must have gotten a laugh out of that one.  I was too embarrassed to check to see if anyone was laughing at me…or with me.  I just assumed, how could they not?

Sometimes my bag works nicely as a chair

If falling could be a talent, I wouldn’t be doing half bad…

So, do I have fears when it relates to the actual safety of flying or being on a plane?  I have had moments where I feel an anxious pulse in my throat due to a diversion, a medical situation, or a possible emergency landing, but I trust my crew, my pilots and other flight attendants, and I have confidence in my training.

Mostly, I want to live my life in possibility, not in phobia.  We all have fears and areas in our lives that we hate to face, but they don’t need to cripple and control, and honestly, most fears have little relevance, and our just products of vivid imaginations.

One day, on my way to work an afternoon trip, I had stopped to grab lunch.  Walking back to my car, the warm, engulfing California sun shining and a light breeze blowing a few stray blonde hairs across my fair skin.  Looking up, I squinted into the light, and thought:

“If this day was my last day ever, have I lived it?  Have I done everything that I wanted to do today? Have I appreciated every moment?”

Make the answer Yes every time.

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

About the Author Kara

Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.

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Leave a Comment:

G-ma says May 16, 2012

Kara, I too remember the day Grandpa took you and Bryan in the airplane, while taking off on our sod farm. I was standing at the kitchen sink when I heard the plane rev up. There were two brown eyes peering over the bottom of the window and away you went. What marvelous memories.

    Sergiu Andreca says May 16, 2012

    You are right about great memories:) Not very kids can say they did that huh?

How To Survive An Airplane Crash | The Flight Attendant Life says August 17, 2012

[…] to sit on the ramp, as the ground crew had to wait to deplane the travelers due to the storm.  Was it scary?  Nope!  Just made us more delayed, but that was fine, cause at that point it really wasn’t a good […]

cas says March 13, 2014

I enjoyed reading your post as I found it on Google some how lol

I loved this part of what you said ”Mostly, I want to live my life in possibility, not in phobia. We all have fears and areas in our lives that we hate to face, but they don’t need to cripple and control, and honestly, most fears have little relevance, and our just products of vivid imaginations”

…… absolutely true and brilliant.

    Sergiu Andreca says March 13, 2014

    I forgot I wrote this, and you reminded me of it on a day when I needed it. Thanks for reading the blog, and your comment! Means a lot to me

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