So I’m writing this from what I hope (dear God please) is 30,000 feet. I’ve flown a lot and I used to think fear of flying was for first time flyers, but in the past couple of years it’s been so terrifying, which is like the opposite of Renaissance man (woman) style. I saw somewhere that the average age to develop fear of flying is 27, apparently because by that age you’re old enough and connected with enough people that you gave a greater fear of loss. Typical of me to develop anxiety before my time.
Anyway, so on the way to see my parents, I listened to this fear of flying podcast over and over and over. On the way back, which is right now, I’m listening to a bunch of other ones that I found and reviewing them all to distract myself from my imminent death.
Hypnosis with DJ Frost, “Fear of Flying”: okay this dude’s name suggests that he is not a real person, I know, but I’m into this one. This guy is a commercial airline pilot (he goes through all of his qualifications at the beginning). [as I am writing this the plane turned sideways and I lost a year off my life]. Anyway, he’s also a hypnotist? Idk. I’m not super into hypnotism and was prepared to lol at this one, but it’s actually not really about hypnotism. Instead, the guy hosting the podcast just asks him a bunch of questions about things that scare people about flying, like what if you can’t see the runway, why are there weird smells, what kind of mechanical and medical tests do you do, how do you avoid other planes in the air? I’ve never been particularly concerned about hitting other planes, though I’m always open to developing a new fear. Anyway, the pilot goes through all the different systems they have on the plane that keep you from crashing and dying and it’s actually pretty calming/distracting. They also make the good point that the pilot usually wants everything to be okay too. It’s not the same as meditation, but the pilot sounds so bored with all of these fears that it kind of made me more bored with them too. 7/10.
Deborah Barron’s Fear of Flying: this one is only 5 minutes long which is a letdown already It starts with a story about falcons which is confusing me. Is it going to become about flying? Oh, the falcon doesn’t like flying. The woman next to me has her shoes off and is walking around in her hospital socks. Horrified that she might go to the bathroom in her socks. As you might guess, this podcast is going nowhere. It’s basically like, “do things you’re afraid of.” I don’t think it’s even supposed to be about real flying. This is a disappointment. 0/10, though presumably good for life-coaching.
Rick Steves Audio Europe, “Fear of Flying”: this one also has a pilot, which I’m into. Apparently, he runs a fear of flying clinic. He starts with all the things people worry about with flying and where the fear comes from. My fear definitely comes from being out of control and the horror that I assume accompanies knowing you’re dying. In a car crash, you have a split-second a lot of the time. Flying is more like terminal cancer, except you can’t tell your family goodbye. This is getting dark, what is my life.
This guy is rambling, so I will interject that this is actually a pretty distracting project, highly recommend distracting yourself by ignorantly critiquing people more accomplished and knowledgeable than yourself.
Unclear why this podcast is called Audio Europe since they’re both Americans.
This podcast and this app I’ll get into below suggest you ask to talk to the pilot before the flight. This isn’t really for me because I also can’t deal with human interaction, but I bet my grandmother would be all over that.
Gross, apparently if you hit a bird it smells like fried chicken in the plane? Is this a thing? This guy is so deadpan, it’s very unclear.
This guy is basically a less detailed, more deadpan version of DJ Frost (there’s a joke somewhere in his name), but he has the same calming boredom, and he’s 15 minutes long, so at worst he kills some time. His class sounds cool, it’s a non-profit, and he takes a practice flight with them at the end. I blame Rick Steves for not asking the hard-hitting questions, like WHY DO YOU TURN THE PLANE SIDEWAYS SO MUCH. 6/10.
The Anxiety Guru Show: “How to Overcome Your Fear of Flying”.
This guy starts with an announcement that this guy just got his Master’s in therapy or something. I have no sense of how difficult those programs are so I never know if I should be impressed.
He says 1 in 4 have some anxiety about flying. What I heard was 1 in 4 people have some anxiety about flying and at least 2 in 4 people are liars. He also sounds like such a bro. Bring back the grumpy fifty year old pilots.
I’m really not comforted by the “you’re more likely to die in a car” statistic because, like I said, I’m more worried about hurtling towards the earth frantically trying to text my parents and Anonymous Boyfriend. Dark again, whoops.
Okay so basically it seems like this guy is just telling you how to do life and not that much about flying. Apparently he will post a future podcast that talks you through the flight, but I didn’t see it and there’s no wifi on this plane. I think I’m biased because he sounds like my age, but he’s saying stuff like “it’s less stressful if you pack early.” However, he does point out my favorite airplane stress routine: look at the flight attendants and see if they look like they’re contemplating the contents of their last will and testament. 5/10.
Meditation for Health, “#39(a) Guided Meditation for Fear of Flying”: THIS PODCAST IS MY JAM. I listened to it like twenty times on the way to my parents’ house. Basically, it’s just this guy saying over and over again (all paraphrased) that “you are flying through the air, you are safe,” and, my favorite, “you can listen to this as many times as you need to during the flight.” Thank you, I will. My only criticisms are 1) it’s only 10 minutes, and 2) at one point he says “allssss you have to do,” which grates on my nerves. Just say “all.” What geographic area does that come from? If he can say “alls,” I want people to stop teasing me about saying “y’all,” which is a very useful word. 8/10
So this one’s an app but it’s amazing. First, it has all these little pages where you can read about how yes, it is actually normal for the plane to feel like it’s slowing down after you take off. The best/worst part is the “g-force meter,” which supposedly shows you that the plane is okay because it’s in a certain G-force range. But aren’t there other problems that can go wrong? Is low g-force what it feels like when you’re crashing? I have 0 idea whether this is a real thing, but I can confirm that when there was turbulence on my last flight it was jumping like crazy. That’s kind of terrible, but also it stayed well within the range that the app said was safe, so that was comforting. On this flight, I’ve been saving it for times that I feel really freaked out, but it’s also calming to watch it stay stable like in this pic:
There’s also a paid version, which I think has a little fear of flying course you can take. I’m not that desperate yet. 9/10.
If you have somehow ended up here and are looking for recommendations, I would get Soar, the Meditation for Health podcast, and DJ Frost (how does he go by that??). DJ Frost was good during takeoff because he was telling me all the reasons the plane is safe, and Meditation for Health is good in the air when there’s turbulence because that guy is reminding you that “alls you have to do is breathe.”
If you’re reading this, I survived.