I always think that this world would be a much better place if man hadn’t discovered flying yet. And I’m sure if there were no aeroplanes, science would have invested more resources in improving train travel, and we’d still be able to cross continents. Though we might not be able to travel from New Delhi to Boston in a few hours, as we can otherwise do in a supersonic jets of today, but we’d sure be somewhere closer. And then again, it would be a much better journey, passing through I don’t know how many countries and the infinite ocean, than just tripping in a boring aircraft, entrapped with a few hundred impatient co-passengers.
Before you make generalizations let me get this straight, I am not scared of flying. I am not afraid that the aeroplane I’m on will fly into a mountain because of pilot error, or that a Korean Navy ship will decide that the Boeing flying above their head is an enemy aircraft and knocks it off by mistake. No I don’t find flying a scary thing, and I feel perfectly normal even during the worst of all turbulences. Moreover, I know flying is, by far, the safest mode of transportation available today. Yet every time I have to fly it scares the living shit out of me.
Flying Only Seems More Dangerous Until I Actually Board The Flight
The idea of missing a flight, arriving at the wrong airport, or worse, forgetting the passport, scares me to death. Because missing a flight, for no matter what reason, means losing a big chunk of money from your bank account.
During one of my recent trips to Southeast Asia, something similar happened, and the horror game of boarding flights, I was always scared of, turned into my worst nightmare. It all happened when I had to book three multi-destination flights, as I was travelling from New Delhi to Thailand, then Thailand to Cambodia, before finally coming back to India from Cambodia. So three flights in total – each one scheduled in next 15 days from the previous one.
As I reached the New Delhi airport to board my first flight and initiate my journey, I found that by mistake I’ve booked it exactly one month later from today. Rather than on 20/8/2016, as was the date the day I showed up at the airport, I booked the flight on 20/9/2016. Now I’d two options, one that I cancel the flight, get no refund, and re-book another flight, almost at a double price. And second, that I return after one month to board the same flight but miss the next two flights and ruin my entire plan altogether. And there I was, overwhelmed by the ambiguity of emotions – sadness, anger (which was slowly turning into wrath!) confusion, helplessness, all playing their part together! And that’s the problem with flying. You’re always out of options, and so vulnerable to be ripped off. One simple mistake and you’re done!
Airports are like train stations, except that in an airport you can’t say ‘fuck it, I am taking a taxi’, and if you miss your flight, you’ve no other option but to book another 20,000 Rupee flight with this time, a middle seat, and right next to the emergency door – which means you cannot even recline your seat. So I hate flying. And I find it risky.
Other In-flight Difficulties To Make Things Worse
Now, if I somehow made it on board without committing any serious mistakes, the discomfort of flying in an aeroplane is another intricate issue to deal with.
Unless you want to bleed hopeless money, you are required to sit in the economy class, crammed in a little metal tube for hours, while staring out of a tiny window – if only the person sitting right next to it, allows you to peek through.
And then not to forget that you’re trapped in a tiny seat with no leg room whatsoever. Unlike trains, a plane moreover doesn’t promise any movement, meaning you’re surely going to lose any sensation in your buttock, unless you’ve brought a super-fluffy pillow for its rescue.
Though buses also don’t offer much movement, but they at least make periodic stops, allowing you to stretch your body and make some contact with the real outside work. If, however, your plane decided to make a stop, it is even worse – because consider that a brutal 4-8 hour layover at its very least (yes, I’m talking about the transit time between connecting flights) – with high probability that it’s going to fall during the odd hours of midnight.
So yea, flying in aeroplanes is no fun. It’s time consuming, boring, haunting (for one reason or the other), tiresome and is more or less a no-alternative choice why most people chose to fly. Consider myself included! After all, I got places to go. Don’t we all?
Do you have an unreasonable fear of flying or any other secret travel fear?