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Flying is much nicer without fear

Updated: Mar 25, 2023

I usually get very nervous before departure.

I love travelling more than anything else, otherwise I would certainly not have a travel blog. With my wonderful wife, I have also hit the jackpot in this respect, because we have developed our passion for travel together over the years. But it must have always been dormant in us. But many destinations can only be reached by plane. I would even dare to say the most interesting ones. But this is where things start to get complicated, because the thought of flying has been bringing beads of sweat to my wrinkled forehead for many years. But when I sit in an aeroplane, not only do I start to sweat proverbially, at airy heights the cold sweat runs down my face. When the plane starts to jerk, my composure is gone for good. I become discreetly panicky and cramp my entire body. To make matters worse, my digestion rebels and I get diarrhoea. This is an advantage, because the only place where I am halfway calm is the cramped aircraft lavatory. And I'm not afraid of flying at all, I don't even know if it's the possibility of crashing that makes me nervous.

The fact is, flying has not been a pleasure for me for a long time. I have tried several things, but nothing has helped. Almost nothing. On my travels so far, I have been able to identify two measures that have at least partially reduced my fear of flying: flying a lot and getting drunk - the second is not optimal in the long run, the first is not feasible for reasons of time and money. On my previous trips, I noticed a certain dullness when I had to take off and land several times within a few weeks. So the more I flew within a certain period of time, the more relaxed I became. Sounds good, but as I said, it's not possible for various reasons, even if I wanted to. The other solution is alcohol.

Once, on a flight home from Thailand, I was sitting next to an extremely funny Norwegian who, in addition to his fear of flying, also revealed to me a bag with countless cans of beer, which he insisted on sharing with me, and I came to the realisation that flying is more fun when you're drunk. The no less alcoholic Nordmann and I got drunk together and watched cartoons. I can't remember being scared, but I can't remember anything else either. So that's not a permanent solution either.

With no prospect of changing my fear of flying, I was in a stupid situation. Travelling to the desired destinations of my wonderful wife and I, was so bad that each journey was like the contents of an inedible sandwich. The best cheese with fresh tomato slices on the inside and spoiled bread on the outside, because at the beginning and at the end of every journey there was the damnable flight. How often did I sit cramped and sweating on the plane and say to my wife: I'll never do it again. She never believed me, because a few weeks after landing at the latest, I was always overcome by the desire to travel again and a few months later our next trip was already planned. It went badly.

If you ask me what I'm afraid of, I can't even say. I just don't feel comfortable on board an aircraft. I don't like the movements that this basically unbelievable machine performs, over which I have no control whatsoever. Yes, perhaps it is even the so often quoted loss of control that turns me into a trembling wreck. Both my wife and my reason keep telling me how safe flying is, yet they fail to bring my gut feeling to its knees. My gut has elephant knees.

Last December, it was that time again. If you've read my recent blogs, you know what I'm talking about. We were planning our next trip. Our destinations were New York and Florida, and anyone who has the slightest idea geographically knows: there is no tram connection to the USA. We had to book a flight again, and a long-haul one at that. This time I decided to do something about my fear of flying.

The books and articles I had read so far had no effect. The various herbal remedies were also 100 percent ineffective. I decided to do some research and switch to hard stuff and searched the internet for a solution. I quickly came across psychiatric drugs with the nasty active ingredients diazepam, lozrzepam and oxazepam. These drugs are only available on prescription and are supposed to have a strong effect, at least in the short term, but they can also cause side effects, which I do not want to play down at this point. These drugs should ONLY be taken AFTER CONSULTATION WITH A DOCTOR - they have to be prescribed by one anyway, at least in Austria. So I made an appointment with my family doctor and explained my dilemma.

Fortunately, my doctor was understanding, even though she was naturally sceptical. She prescribed me a pack of 20 Xanor tablets. This psychotropic drug contains the active ingredient alprazolam and is supposed to work against anxiety and nervousness and be extremely relaxing. "Either you'll be dog-tired or very funny," my doctor told me and further explained the side effects and addictive potential of these tablets. Tired would be better, I thought, because I am already very funny. However, I did not intend to become addicted to these drugs, I just wanted to try to make the upcoming flight halfway bearable. But I was sceptical myself.

My family doctor recommended that I try one of these tablets at home a few weeks before the holiday, as I might not tolerate the active ingredients or have an allergic reaction. Two weeks before I left, it was a hot and sunny day in Vienna, I took my first Xanor. And I basically felt NOTHING. I did have the feeling of reacting a little more calmly to my environment, but this feeling was very subtle and could also have been imagination. The effect of the passion flower pills I had tried once were similar and did not help at all. Now I was even more sceptical, but at least: I was not allergic.

Already on the day before departure, my nervousness grew. 8.5 hours flying time to New York. How was I going to cope with that? The next morning we were ready to go at 7.00 am. We went by public transport to Vienna Schwechat Airport and it was one after the other. There was a long queue in front of the check-in and security check and I almost didn't have time to take the tablet. Around 45 minutes before departure, I managed to take it anyway. After all, it was very important to me. I wanted to start my next big trip relaxed and not wander around the Big Apple like a zombie. The jet lag will certainly be exhausting enough.

As I took my seat on the plane, I already noticed a change from other flights. I was calm. Normally, my discomfort sets in already at boarding - not this time. When the plane took off, I was still relaxed and my wife also noticed the difference quite quickly. "The tablets seem to be working," she said to me. I wasn't quite sure yet. It was only when we had reached cruising altitude and the food was served that "the Xanor" had convinced me. I remained calm and was even able to eat with a good appetite, which I usually could not do. Eventually I even fell asleep and took a 90-minute nap. The flight to New York became the best flight of my life with the help of the little pills. Since I only fly two to four times a year on average, I will certainly continue to use the help of this medication. The test was absolutely satisfactory and I am currently writing this blog in Fort Myers, Florida. A beautiful place, by the way!

However, if you have a fear of flying yourself, please talk to your doctor about it too!

My wife and I wish you all the love and many great trips! If you have any questions, feel free to write or comment. I also appreciate friendly feedback and positive word of mouth!

Book tip on the subject of fear of flying

Free yourself from your fear of flying with this LIFE-CHANGING book and start enjoying your holidays again!

'Brilliant - fear of flying is no more! If you hate flying, read this. You've got nothing to lose apart from your fear' 5***** READER REVIEW

'I actually got bored on my last fight thanks to this book! Have shared with other nervous flyers who are all now excited to fly' 5***** READER REVIEW

'A must read. I have suffered a fear of flying since I was 16 . . . Now I can say hand on heart, "I love flying"' 5***** READER REVIEW


Learn to enjoy your holidays and never fear flying again with this essential, life-changing, practical and easy-to-read book.

This unique method pioneered by Allen Carr dispels all the most common flying fears as well as revealing the truth behind media scare stories. It removes the root of the fear, not just the symptoms and is packed with tips to help you on your next flight.

Allen Carr, author of the world's bestselling guide to stopping smoking, uses his unique approach to help make flying an enjoyable part of your work or holiday.

By the time you have finished reading this book, you will be looking forward to taking your next flight.


'His method is absolutely unique' Sir Richard Branson


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