Summer time is at last upon us which poses a problem for me should I wish to seek warmer climes.
You see, when I was little, we had a plane.
Not a giant 747 or anything, just a little 4-seater jobby.
We weren’t exactly the Bransons jetting off to our own Necker Island after school on a Friday but we did have a few little jaunts to the likes of Jersey and France with my Dad captaining our little plane instead of Bob from British Airways. And there's that story of us taking off behind Concorde..
I tell you this, not to sound like a toffee-nosed Enid Blyton character but to put into perspective my annoyance that all these years later, I’m shit scared of flying.
Yes, admittedly, given my Dad’s driving skills, my mum now exclaims on reflection, “I can’t believe I ever put you in a plane with your Father when he doesn’t even indicate at a roundabout!” but my fear of the skies is less childhood trauma-inflicted and much more a control freak situation.
I used to love flying - the exhilaration as the plane picked up speed down the runway, the thrill of soaring above the clouds and I’m still strangely drawn to watching their jetstream zigzags in the sky – it’s not so much a fear of planes themselves but more the fact I don’t trust the person in the hot-seat with our lives in our hands – not to mention the fact that, plummeting to earth in a giant exploding tin can, is not how I want to depart the world.
I haven’t let it beat me so far, thanks to a regular prescription of diazepam to see me through the flight in relative sanity, but poor Mr B has endured more than enough pre-flight scenes, of which I’ve ended up in the cockpit before take-off, sobbing to the pilot (bonus points to Easyjet by the way). The worst was when I was pregnant and unable to knock back any of my usual flying aids - no nervous flyer wants to hear that there’s anything wrong with the plane so when the airline announced we were delayed due to a technical fault, my mind went into overdrive with images of the wings falling off or the doors flying open in mid-air – Mr B pretty much disowned me at this point as I waddled up the aisle in a frenzy demanding to get off.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about signing up to one of theose fear of flying courses for a while. They’re not cheap, hence my hesitation in wondering if they’re actually any good or whether being trapped in a room all day with a bunch of other nervy flyers may see me grounded forever.
I’d love the opportunity to grill a pilot though about all the clunks and weird noises that are so unnerving at 30,000 feet but it may be easier just to hang out at Heathrow with the plane spotters and accost an off-duty one in Arrivals.
Answers on a postcard if anyone has tried a flying course though and found it helpful – I’d love to know…