I’ve gone through check in and security. I’m in the departure lounge. My stomach begins to turn cartwheels. The thought of the journey to be undertaken is sending me into anxiety mode.
Then we go through the departure gate and step on to the plane. The anxiety gets more prevalent. The heart is beating very fast now. I settle into the seat, buckle up. The stewardesses are directing people to the seats, closing the overhead lockers and performing the safety drill.
Then the engines spool up. We push back. The engines gather speed as we taxi towards the runway. The heart is racing and the adrenaline is coursing through my body. Round the airfield we go and we line up. This is it Allen. The take off.
There’s an enormous roar, like a thousand galloping horses. The engine thrust is applied and that peculiar g force feeling throws you slightly back in your seat. The plane screams down the runway at about 160 mph. Then lift off. I close my eyes. I don’t like looking outside. The eyes still closed as we climb steadily up to cruising altitude. Though I’m a fairly experienced flier, the sensation of the take off still sends my nervous system into overdrive.
Then there’s the turbulence. The aircraft shakes, mildly but not severely. Try telling that to my nervous system. The pilot applies more power to the engines and the sensation of getting faster through the turbulence frightens me. Certainly did last night. But then it’s all over. The air smooths out and we’re back to normal again. My mind and body settles down. I’m calm.
Then the landing. Some landings are good, like last night’s, some are a bit harsh and are preceded by some lumps and bumps in the approach. Coming into Porto last week saw the pilot apply the brakes very quickly as he approached a bit too rapidly. Yesterday the approach and landing was text book and extremely smooth. Depends on the aircraft sometimes too.
Time to breathe a sigh of relief as that adventure is finally over. We’re down, taxiing to the arrival gate and a wave of relief washes over me like ocean water. As I said, I’ve made 18-20 journeys on a plane. It should get easier. But being naturally anxiety ridden, it’s not that easy to be calm for the whole duration of the experience. It has to be done though, if I’m to see the world!