I never could have predicted that I would still be in Miami tonight. We had a big weekend planned in NYC. American Airlines cancelled our flight three hours before takeoff. I must have been greatly relieved about not flying in a storm because I climbed into bed around 7pm and slept until after midnight. Eliot said he tried to wake me several times, but I just kept going back to sleep.
It’s now 12:50am Saturday and I’m up for the day. I do have the capacity to read for a while and then fall back to sleep. I received a promotional message yesterday from Danielle Steele about her new book. Coincidentally, she said it was about flying. I wanted to share her personal fear of flying experiences with you. You might relate. I do.
I hope all is well with you. It’s been a rugged winter, and I am ready for spring. After fire, torrential rains, and mudslides in California, and two solid months of pouring rain in Paris, I am more than ready for some spring sunshine!! Mother Nature has not been kind to California in the last several months. And the first days of spring will be very welcome (although probably still pretty chilly in both Paris and New York, and a lot of other places!!)
I’ll be writing this month, as usual, and I’m excited about my new hardcover coming out on March 20th: ACCIDENTAL HEROES. It’s about a near crisis on a flight to San Francisco, and all the people who are involved. Security on the ground at Kennedy airport in New York, the CIA, the FAA, the flight crew on board, the passengers, and some very clever detectives, and the personal stories and background of each of the people involved. When you think about it, it’s really about the vast number of people behind the scenes who ensure our safety when we travel.
Many people are a little squeamish about flying, and some are really frightened, not necessarily for any concrete reason, but they just are. Many years ago, after years of flying comfortably with ease, when I got divorced, the residual anxiety from that made me suddenly fearful to fly. After about a year of being afraid to fly, I took an amazing eight-week class given by United Airlines at the time, and each week focused on a different aspect of flying: there were people from the Air Control Tower who spoke to us, safety experts, pilots, breathing exercises to do, and a psychologist who attended every class with us. There was even a graduation flight from San Francisco to LA. We drove around the airport, on the ground, and in the plane to get more comfortable.
I have to tell you, it REALLY worked, and I’ve been fine ever since. Classes are still given today (one of my children took a class like it). Today, it is done in a single all day session, or a weekend workshop, and wherever you live, if you check it out, there is a Fear of Flying class associated with the airport, or an airline. One thing it pointed out to me was that people tend to get anxious when they leave home, so anything related to travel, like flying, becomes a challenge. It’s a good point. But I highly recommend a class like it if you’re a fearful flyer. I gave one of those classes as a gift to a friend, who was a nervous flyer, and she’s been fine flying ever since! A class like that gives you the tools to cope with your anxiety, and explains to you all the reasons why you don’t need to be nervous. Statistically, just about everything else we do is a LOT more dangerous, from riding a bike, to driving a car. And it really is extraordinary all the measures the airlines take to ensure our comfort and safety. There are far more safety measures now than when I took that class, with all the security before a flight!!
I travel so much that taking that class has been a real blessing for me. Now, being on a plane is the place I relax most – no phone, no faxes, and I don’t bother with internet on the flight so I dont have to read emails. I catch up on movies I’ve missed, and sleep through most of the trip.
One friend told me at the time that he stopped being afraid to fly because it was just too much trouble to be that worried every time he travelled. And on one flight, before the class, I was sitting right next to the galley, where the flight attendants were chatting right before we landed, one said she had to pick up her dry cleaning, another said she was going to get a pizza for her boyfriend, a third one was going to get her nails done, while I sat clutching my seat, thinking that I was surely about to die when the plane landed, and suddenly it occurred to me”I’m sitting here planning my funeral, and they’re getting their nails done and ordering a pizza???” It put it into perspective for me!!! And reminded me that I was actually going to survive the flight!!
I hope you love the book, and whether you’re a fearful flyer, or a relaxed, confident one, it will reassure you that you are safe and in good hands while you fly!!! And if you are a nervous flyer, you should think about taking one of those classes. When I was afraid to fly, for a year or two, I didn’t go anywhere, and I missed out on travelling to Paris, New York, seeing family, or going on fun vacations. So don’t let those fears cheat you of happy experiences. Take care and have a great month of March!!