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The Fret of Flying

- Caroline

Since I’ve been traveling on family vacations since I was in diapers, I know how to survive on-the-road better than anyone. But when it comes to flying, I get queasy just thinking about it. Three years ago I had to fly with a group of students that I didn’t know well to New Orleans. I was more nervous than the first day of 9th grade! Maybe I should have read how to enjoy plane rides first!

My nerves crept up for a couple reasons: 1) I hadn’t flown on a plane for over 10 years since pre-9/11 and I wasn’t sure how to handle the new security restrictions 2) I was going without my family, for the first time. Instead I was traveling with a group of new friends that I didn’t know well.

#1 fear was overcome with research.

Before the trip I looked up the new rules on flying restrictions. The newest to my knowledge was the 3-1-1 rule about what was allowed for carry-on items. I made sure I packed things the right way and didn’t have anything over 3oz in my carry on. Still, taking off my shoes, jacket, belt, wallet, keys, phone, electronics, and jewelry and placing them on the convertible made me nervous.  Then, of course, my bag was lifted up and I was asked if it’s mine. It was. I was searched! Sweat drops were slowly building up behind my ears. What could it be? I did everything right! Two men searched my bag with rubber gloves (as if expecting something to bite them). The culprit of my search wass pulled out: a 4 oz bottle of baby powder! “This is 4oz” “But it’s not a liquid, it’s powder” They took that as a fair argument and told me to put everything back in my bag. I looked at the group of students who are all staring at me with sarcastic grins; of course I was the only one to get ‘caught’ with something!

#2 fear was overcome with a good attitude

At the time of the trip, we all hardly knew each other, let alone were good friends. While we were waiting for our flight we all sat together and chatted, exchanged phone numbers and played some cheesy games. I suggested a game I made up “story of the traveler”. You pick out a person in the airport and come up with their story; why they’re traveling, where they’re going and who they’re with.  Our imaginations got the best of us and before the flight took off we were already laughing together at the ridiculous stories we created.

Boarding the plane I felt better but was still nervous about the flight itself. I went through an entire pack of gum being a “nervous chewer” and closed my eyes tight during take off. But I felt much better knowing that I already got through the worst of it: making it past security and feeling more comfortable with the group I came with.

Since that trip three years ago, I’ve flown six times and am best friends with three of the seven who went on the trip! I think I conquered well.

Check out how to actually enjoy a plane ride with your family here!

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