The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Fear of flying

 
The topic of safety while flying has surfaced once again after recent problems with a Southwest Airlines plane’s fuselage, the main body section on an aircraft that holds the passengers, crew and cargo.
I will be the first to say I have never liked heights or the thought of flying, even though I have flown several times. I have flown on different carriers and the experiences are just about the same.
I am comfortable with just riding in a car or on a bus. I feel I am more in control of what happens to me when I personally drive to my destination. People survive car and bus accidents all the time.
However, the same thing cannot be said about plane crashes. There have been too many plane crashes where all the hundreds of people onboard died.
I probably will get on a plane again, but only if necessary, like if someone in my family gets married and they want me there. Sometimes people die and, obviously, I won’t get another chance to see them.
Driving in a car or even catching a bus isn’t always feasible, especially when I have a certain amount of time to get from point A to point B. This is especially true when I have to be at a wedding or funeral on a Saturday evening and return to school Monday morning for a test. As we all know, driving to the West Coast would take forever. So during the flight, I try to take my mind off the pains of flying.
The pains of flying include: turbulence (and bad turbulence at times), being tens of thousands of feet off the ground and the possibility of a terror attack while in the air. I have flown with some people who fly quite often, and even they get scared when the plane hits high turbulence, so you can imagine what it does to a person like me.
Being far off the ground gives you a great view of what’s down below. Sometimes I look out the window as we pass over cities, but then I quickly look away when I remember how far we are off ground as I see the clouds under the plane. Sometimes, I think the plane has stopped in midair, but then I see us still moving.
The threat of terrorism has been at the forefront of many people’s minds, especially since the terrorist attacks back in 2001, and the many more have happened worldwide since then.
I watch every movement that everybody makes from the time I’m sitting on the plane waiting for takeoff until the time the plane lands and we are waiting to get off. So that means I don’t talk much.
A section of Southwest’s fuselage gave way earlier this month, tearing a hole in the roof as passengers were flying over Arizona. Nobody was injured. There was a more serious fatality that occurred back in 1988 on Aloha Airlines. A flight attendant was sucked out of the plane on that flight from Hilo to Honolulu.
The rest of the passengers and crew were safe as the plane made an emergency landing. Southwest handled its fuselage situation pretty well, but it does nothing to change my perception of flying.
There are many things in life I don’t like doing. I wish I liked flying because I would probably do it a little bit more because it’s cheaper for longer trips when I travel alone.
Unfortunately for me, there isn’t anything I can do to change how I feel about turbulence, heights and the possibility of a terrorist attack. Some like it, but there are some, like me, that don’t. I just hope everything goes according to plan the next time I do fly.
Christopher Webb is a junior majoring in business administration. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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Fear of flying