Fear of airportsBack to Forum
Anonymous15 Apr 2013
Following on from Daniel’s thread on turbulence, I would like to share something with you all.
I have never been a nervous passenger and quite enjoy a bumpy flight. My problem begins before boarding. I find the whole airport experience so stressful that in the past couple of years I have started cancelling or changing flights at the drop of a hat, all at great personal expense. Today I should be in Manhattan with family, but on Sat. I had a mini crisis just thinking about it all. Fortunately my mother completely understood.
This year I have been out of the country once to Beirut and that was a superhuman effort.
Does anyone have the same problem which, in my case, seems to have become a real phobia?
Maybe I should MAN UP, in BB’s famous words!15 Apr 2013
Sorry to hear about your phobia , I think you will find its not that uncommon
I did some CBT therapy for my fear of flying and it worked a treat, it really changed my thought process it maybe worth looking into it as your phobia is effecting your life ie not going on a trip with your family
Good luck to you, I am sure if you tackle it you will beat it15 Apr 2013
alexpo1, I completely understand. I have my strategies to deal with airports at least on departure, for whatever reason arrival and leaving them does not bother me.
I turn up early, repeatedly do deep breathing exercises and try very hard to switch off from my surroundings. It mostly works, but I have got as far as the lounge before now and had to get out, be off loaded and make other plans. Once on board, I’m generally fine.15 Apr 2013
Hi alexpo1. Have you thought about conditioning; that is, exposing yourself to the airport environment gradually, on days when you know that you don’t have to fly? I understand that it’s time-consuming, but it might be worth trying. If possible, start off by driving out to your local airport. Pull up to the terminal, and then leave. Next time, perhaps park and go inside – pretend that you’re travelling that day, but just stay for a few minutes. On another day, have lunch inside the terminal. Small steps, and each time practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing. Knowing that you are not ‘committed’ to going through the whole airport experience, and that you can turn around and go home without any disruption or inconvenience might help you get used to feeling relaxed while there.
I don’t explain these things very well (would make a horrible teacher), but hopefully you get the idea. Granted, it requires considerable time (and parking money), but it’s something to consider.
Good luck to you.
CT15 Apr 2013
A question, alexpo1. Do you tend to feel anxious in crowds? Do you ever feel the same way on a subway, at a concert hall, in a shopping centre, etc.?
One more thing. Like WillieWelsh, I, too, have left the airport after checking in, due to feeling overwhelmed with the whole ordeal of travelling. That was a long time ago, but I think I have somewhat of an understanding of what plagues you.15 Apr 2013
Thanks, Capetown2k. Firstly, for the compliment, but also for coming up with the words that were lost on me: exposure therapy! Glad to know that I wasn’t talking complete rubbish!15 Apr 2013
I very much appreciate all your replies.
In the past few years I have found myself arriving at the airport thinking only about getting on the bus back home. But that’s just not possible when you are about to fly home from Rio or Manila!
I have my methods for coping in the situations you mention….listening to music, just doing it without thinking beforehand, but this is now quite serious as I have lost track of cancelled flights.
I am due to travel on 2 May, and just sharing my thoughts and your replies has been a great help.15 Apr 2013
The very fact you are talking about it is the first major step to beating it, distractions like music etc is a bit like taking a aspirin it only masks the symptoms
A year ago I thought CBT therapy wasn’t for me and wouldn’t work my answer to my fear was to have a drink or two or three but even that didn’t really work CBT has helped me change my thought process and has really helped I only had 6 x 1hr sessions I didn’t take the first one seriously and I suppose I thought it was a bit beneath me and maybe I was a bit ashamed, but after my first session I had a really bad flight ( the flight was actually text book but not to me ) and I thought sod it i am going to make this work, so I went back and completed the course
When I fly now I feel in control and know what to do when I have a dodgy moment or when we hit a bumpy patch
I am sure CBT isn’t for everyone and what ever you do to tackle it good luck15 Apr 2013
Hi alexpo1. I’m pleased to hear that last bit. There’s something to be said for the therapeutic benefit of sharing these things ‘out loud’ – even with strangers. Sometimes it’s easier that way. We don’t always want our colleagues and peers to know such intimate details about ourselves. Please do let us know how you get on. I’m sure that nobody here would ever really expect you to “man up” (I’m sure BB meant it in good humour). It’s a very real problem for a lot of people, and is not to be taken lightly.
I take it that you feel fine once you’re airborne, settled in your seat. Perhaps try focussing on that while enduring the rigors of the airport experience.
Are you travelling long-haul on 02 May? By all means, share your thoughts on that day. I’m sure you can count on receiving support from at least a few of us here.
CT15 Apr 2013
That’s an interesting point. I tend to get more stressed before a longhaul flight. My flight on 2 May is relatively short – about 3 hours. In fact, it is the inaugural Ryanair!! flight to Rabat.
I am made of pretty strong stuff but some situations I find very difficult…
Many thanks…15 Apr 2013
I’m jealous! Would love to visit Morocco. Definitely near the top of my list. From where will this new service depart? From what I can see, it appears that Ryanair serves Rabat only from Belgium and France. Assuming that you’re travelling for business, here’s hoping you’ll have time to explore at your leisure. Fascinating country.15 Apr 2013
I’m sure you would love Morocco CT.
My flight departs from Charleroi….let’s hope I don’t chicken out!
I have visited the country many times over the past 20 years…the locals are so open..
If you plan to visit, please ask me for more inexpert advice!15 Apr 2013