A fearful flyer who is about to board a plane doesn't usually remember a single fact or figure about the safety of air travel. That fearful flyer is more concerned about whether they can get on the plane without having a nervous breakdown and desperately wanting to know they'll make it safely to their destination so they can get back OFF the plane.
That's what happens to me when I'm boarding a plane. I'm wild-eyed, desperate, panicky and not listening to any reasonable thing my flying companion is telling me. When I'm boarding a plane I need a cheat sheet; a quick reference guide of simple statements that I know to be true but am unable to think of on my own. Here are some from my personal list:
1. There are millions of people on thousands of flights EVERY DAY that are very routine and never make the news.
2. The plane was designed to be in the air, that's where it performs best.
3. Air is a thick fluid, a lot like jello. The plane is being supported by big columns of "jello air". It has substance even though I can't see it.
4. Turbulence in a plane is like being in a car going over a bump in the road. It doesn't hurt the plane. The wings will not fall off.
5. The plane is designed to handle more stress than any normal flying situation will deliver.
6. The pilots and flight crew do this every day, the sky is their office, they are professionals.
7. The pilots go through extensive repetitive training for every possible situation, even ones I haven't thought of.
8. The plane has many backup systems and is capable of flying safely with several systems not functions perfectly.
9. The sounds I hear are normal and mean the plane is functioning correctly.
10. This flight will not last forever, I will get through it one minute at a time and then I will enjoy my destination.
Sometimes one statement has more meaning than another, it depends on which fear is bothering me the most. It can help to repeat the important points over and over. Focus on them. Make them real. I imagine myself as the pilot just going to his job; a job that he worked hard for, he dearly loves and cares deeply about. He loves to fly, and he's going to deliver me to my destination and then turn around and take more people to their destination. I am just one of millions of people that will fly today.
Repeating these statements over and over helps me to come back to reality and out of my fog of fear. Your top 10 statements may be different. Some of them may be the same. As a fellow fearful flyer I know how hard it is to remember the facts that gave you comfort while in your living room. That's why I'm always sure to take my cheat sheet of power statements with me on every flight.