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Stop the plane I want to get off !






I hate flying, I am terrified of flying, irrational I know but I can't help it.
They say it is the safest form of transport, they can say it all they like.
 I'm still scared.

I wasn't always scared of flying, I never really liked it but I can't say it scared me.

I think I can pin point the start of it to a flight to Corfu with my Father.


Plane to Corfu
I've never smiled like that on a plane since!

The flight was fine until we came in to land, the plane felt like it was zig zaging towards the runway.
Then it really began to sway from side to side, the overhead cupboards came open, stuff was flying all over the place.
The hostess trolleys were rolling down the isles.

My Father grabbed my hand and that is what worried me the most.
My Father had been all over the world, he lived to travel.
He was afraid of nothing.
He had been on the worst kinds of planes and if he was worried, it was bad!

Well we landed safely but what a terrible landing.
Apparently Corfu airport was one of the two most dangerous airports in the world, the other one being Tenerife.
This was thirty years ago, maybe things have changed now .


The runway at Corfu airport.


The runway for Corfu airport starts in the sea and finishes in the mountains!
My Father knew this before boarding the plane but had not told me.
At that time he told me, Swiss air had boycotted Corfu airport and a few pilots from other airlines refused to fly there.

My heart eventually went back to it's normal rhythm and we had a good time in Corfu.



Corfu
After this flight I really didn't like flying but it was bearable.

Then I had another bad experience.
With Kenya Airways.
The flight was from Mombassa, stopping in Athens, another stop in Paris, and then on to London.
It was dark coming into Paris Orly airport, I had noticed the moon passing the window a few times but thought we must be circling while waiting to land.
 This seemed to go on for ever.
Then we heard the pilot telling us that there may be a problem with the landing gear.
We were shown by the crew how to sit in the brace position!


Brace position


The whole plane was silent, no one was screaming like you see in films, it was awful, I  can't explain the fear, it was just awful.
We landed, the landing gear was fine but that was it for me, I hated flying.
The worst was, I had to stay on the flight until London and guess what?
In London all my luggage was missing, It was never found.
The airline did give me compensation but that doesn't make up for sentimental items lost does it?

I have been terrified of flying ever since and the older I get, the worse it gets!
I will get on a plane, but only short flights.
Is it worth though?
I am ill with worry for the whole week before flying and the stay when we arrive is ruined because all I do is worry about the return flight back!

Nothing really helps, I have had tranquilizers prescribed by doctors, they do take the edge off a bit but the fear is still there, they had no better effect than the over the counter "quiet life" pills that I have tried.


Quiet life tablets
Before the ban on liquids in hand luggage I would make up  strong Gin and tonic in an empty water bottle, I continually took great slugs of it from leaving for the airport until the plane had taken off and the drinks trolley came round!
I got off at the other end very happy!

Gin & Tonic
Now with the restrictions, I still make up the Gin & Tonic but drink it all before  we come to the luggage check!

I can't even calm my nerves by smoking, that's banned as well!
Are people purposely trying to make my time on a plane as bad as it can possibly be?


No smoking



I am always worried that I might run down the isle at take off shouting
 "let me off, let me off"
I never unbuckle my seat belt or visit the loo unless I really, really have to.
When my children were small I tried the hide the fact that I was frightened, I didn't want them to become like me.
Once on a flight from London to Athens, one of the cabin crew asked my Son if he would like to visit the pilot in the cockpit.
Of course my Son jumped at the chance.



cockpit of the plane
I had to go with him, I don't know how I did it!
The things Mothers do for their children!
He was very pleased with the certificate he was given, signed by the captain.





I will never fly on one of the cheaper airlines, to me that is tempting fate, so I only go with the better known ones, British Airways, Olympic airlines etc, this makes things more expensive .
My fear is of the plane crashing, I don't give a second thought to hi-jacking or terrorist attacks.
The slightest bit of turbulence and I am picturing my own funeral!

My Daughter has never forgiven me for the fact that she was not born on a plane!

Both my children were born in England, I returned there at around seven months pregnant each time.
Two weeks before leaving Greece to have my Daughter, a couple of good friends came to stay and we would travel back to England together.
Thank goodness they were with me.

We flew from Athens to Heathrow and then from Heathrow on to Leeds.
Just before landing in Heathrow my waters broke!
I told my friend but not her husband, I was getting on that plane to Leeds!
We managed for a while to keep it from him but he knew something was wrong.

Eventually we told him, he begged us not to get on the plane.
"Don't worry" I said, babies take hours to be born, the flight is only forty five minutes, we'll be fine.
Against his better judgement he kept quiet.
We boarded the plane for Leeds and then sat on the runway for over an hour, there was a delay.

Finally we're off and you have never known turbulence like it!
I threw up for the whole flight.
The friend was so scared now that he told the crew.
They radioed for an ambulance to be waiting in Leeds.
Once we landed in Leeds, we were told to disembark last, then an ambulance man came for me with a stretcher.

Most of my family are waiting in the airport for me, they can see all this going on.
As the ambulance man is covering me with a blanket, I ask him if he can't
 put it over my head.
Oooh, we can't do that love, he replied, they'll think you're dead!

I got to the hospital , my Daughter was born in fifty minutes!



Nais

She was only seven months to term, she was very small but otherwise fine.We both left the hospital after five days,




Proud Father arrived the next day.

We returned to Greece Six weeks later with the same airline.
One of the crew remembered me and told me that British Airways policy was that if a baby was born on board, that baby could travel anywhere in the world free with British Airways for the rest of their life!

You should have come out quicker Nais!

MGG is worse than me about flying.
He won't get on a plane at all.

I had come to England for a visit in 1980, MGG remained in Greece.
Watching the six o clock news a few days after arriving, I saw that a plane had overshot the runway at Leeds airport.
"oh" I said to my Sister, "I landed there a few days ago, I'm glad it didn't happen then"
Just at that point the 'phone rang, my Sister answered it and said it was for me, someone foreign.

It was MGG.He had come to England to surprise me.
"come and get me, I've been in a plane crash" he said.
I couldn't help laughing as I told him I had just seen it on the news.
Little did I know that he was on that plane.



Plane overshot the runway at Leeds & Bradford airport.

He left the plane through the emergency exit on the inflatable slide, then they were told to run as fast as they could to the terminal.
There was the fear of the plane catching fire.
Luckily no one was injured.
That was 7 October 1980

So,that's both of us terrified of flying.
It just means that we travel all over Europe by car.
Which is much, much better than flying.

Nais, planes are the safest form of transport.
This is just your Mother being foolish.
Take no notice!

Nais travels by plane at least once a week for her job.






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