We are a small, happy family of four. My husband, a baby, a dog and me. My husband works on a yacht. A large, luxury megayacht which tends to be based in some fairly fabulous places. The thing is, where the boat goes, we go! When she was was just eight weeks old our daughter, Coco, boarded her first trans-Atlantic flight and since then we haven't stopped. This is a blog of our rather unusual yet adventurous life. No two days are the same.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Leaving on a jet-plane

Have I ever mentioned that I am terrified of flying? I would say that my terror is verging on phobia – terrible anxiety for about two weeks before each flight, palpitations, shakes and trouble breathing. Unfortunately, our life choice makes flying absolutely necessary for me. Not only do I have to do it, but I always have Coco with me and 90% of the time I am on my own.

Earlier this week we flew back to the Sates. Miami this time, a full 10 hours of enduring cramped seats, dehydration, intense baby entertainment and full-blown fear! Oh joy! In retrospect, it actually wasn’t bad at all. I am in love with Heathrow’s Terminal 5; the lack of crowds, helpful staff, clean loo’s and excellent shopping makes a huge difference when travelling solo with an infant. I did feel (and probably looked) like the world’s biggest lush as I stood at the bar next to our gate at 8.30 in the morning downing half a pint of Carlsberg! It’s my way of coping with the flight you see. Actually getting on the plane is sometimes a little tricky and so a soupcon of Dutch courage and I am up, up and away – literally! What must people have thought as they sat around drinking coffee and eating croissants whilst I fed Coco bits of egg sandwich as I downed my pint?

Once I am settled in my seat, deep breaths and I feel a little better. I am determined that Coco doesn’t inherit this fear so externally I try and portray an illusion of complete calm and serenity whereas actually the terror makes my head swim and my heart thump so hard it feels as though it will break through my rib-cage. My moment of relief is when the cabin crew get up and start moving around, in my head, if we have got that far and everything is OK we have a good chance of making it – plus, it means it won’t be long until I can have another beer! That’s it, I just have the two, one before boarding and one when we first take-off. It is enough to keep the nerves just about under control.

Now I have to focus on the next task – keeping a 14 month old entertained for a 10-hour daytime flight! I had chopped fruit, which I fed her intermittently (it makes her sound like a monkey), and a bag full of books and toys, which would hold her attention for the odd ten-minute time slot. I tried to encourage her to get excited about the Noddy cartoon on our entertainment system but the headphones were ripped off before they got anywhere near her ears and she then proceeded to wrap the black cord around her precious neck like a fetching necklace! The headphones were banished to the overhead locker along with the hundreds of plastic bags that contained blankets, socks and eye-masks. Seriously, there are potential hazards everywhere and you can guarantee that if there is anything dangerous lying around, Coco will find it!

Walking up and down the aisles is an obvious distraction, but let’s be honest, there is a limit to how many times you can disturb the people around you and those sitting in the aisle seats were getting visibly bored of Coco’s continuous “Hi’s” and “Bye’s”.

Throw a 45 minute sleep into the mix and a bit of turbulence just to keep me on my toes and we made it, landing in a hot, Latino, Miami. Our journey still consisted of passport control, baggage collection, car hire and the drive to Fort Lauderdale but I was so much better at handling everything when my feet were well and truly planted firmly on the ground.

Any suggestions on how to tackle my fear?


  1. yep... me too... I hate flying but cannot get around it either...
    And it gets better time by time... specially now with 2 kids I hardly have time for myself and therewith no time to freak out...
    however the moment there is a tiny little "strange" thing going on and I do not know what it is... HARD TIME!
    even worse when my baby needs entertaining and I just need to concentrate... argh!
    *chapeau* to you my dear... flying long haul with your little cutie... wow... and not only once... really.... you deserve a BIG STAR on your chest!

    PS: I am hosting a real cute give away and it might be something nice for Coco... join... :)

  2. Have u tried 'Kalm' tablets? They really do work for me....they were recommended by my driving instructor years ago....failed on nerves 1st time, passed on 'kalms' 2nd time!!

    I have used them for certain situations over the years Louisa and it's great....phew! If u haven't already, I suggest u check them out. U might find, next time; that's u sitting enjoying a latte and croissant while waiting to board!!!

    However, well done u! That is an amazing achievement, keep going....keep strong, keep drinking the beer!!!!

    Hope u r all settled now and enjoying the sunshine? xxxxxx

  3. I never had a problem with flying until I had my first baby, then I was terrified. I laughed out loud at the description of you drinking a pint so early in the morning with a baby. That is totally something I would do! Glad you made it safe and sound :)

  4. "Rescue Remedy" and some iPhone apps.