At What Point Am I Allowed To Panic?


I’ve been on a few airplanes lately and I’m really not the best flyer in the world. I don’t freak out or anything, at least not that anyone would notice. All my freaking out is internal and mostly just involves me closing my eyes and trying to talk myself out of picturing the plane crashing. I’m pretty good at calming myself down, but it doesn’t help when the pilot says this on the intercom…

“Good evening folks. The magic boxes in front of me indicate we will be arriving at our destination on time.”

Um….”magic box”. MAGIC BOX???!! Can I please get a pilot who relies on more than magic to fly the plane? Sure, I know he was trying to be funny and usually I would really appreciate that, but not when we are thousands of miles in the air and aren’t issued parachutes. I need a pilot who refers to all the airplane equipment by their technical names and maybe also cites statistics on how safe flying is to alleviate people’s fears. And also sounds like James Earl Jones. I would feel a lot more reassured about flying if the voice of Mufasa was telling me how safe it was.

I mean, at what point is it reasonable for me to panic? If it’s not when your pilot refers to his equipment as “magic boxes” then I don’t know when it is. All I’m saying is, if he wants to joke around, at least let me bring a parachute on board. Or make the booze free. Otherwise, I’m panicking.

51 thoughts on “At What Point Am I Allowed To Panic?

  1. SweetP says:

    I spend a lot of time flying and I’ve got my superstitions. I don’t like anyone saying anything about crashes or terrorists etc before we get on the plane, I don’t listen/watch the flight attendants when they do their safety demo and I don’t listen to the pilot, I just tune out everyone as much as I can.

  2. I flew in the cockpit because one of my family members is a pilot and you expect the cockpit to be massive but it’s tiny and its really scary at the front especially with your family flying it!But the views are amazing!

  3. carcarbone says:

    Ummm I feel the same exact way. I being miles up in the air with a passion. We have no control over what’s going to happen. All I can think of is plunging to my death!

  4. Mufasa! That’s what we all need on airplanes. I think the hyena named Ed would be a great distraction, too, though. At least he could say stupid stuff to take your mind off the fact that the pilot isn’t doing anything in the cockpit except playing with his “magic box.” However, I’d be much more concerned if I heard the pilot say “Tower, please call me a fuel truck.” He wouldn’t say that over the intercom for everyone else to hear, but if he did, you can best bet you’re in trouble if the pilot is too flustered to realize he hit the wrong button….

  5. AnnΓ© says:

    It’s funny. I’d rather fly trans-atlantic flights rather than domestic since american airplanes tend to be more cramped and stuffy. Also domestic flights are too short for me to get used to all the creaks and noises that are normal on airplanes. Thus, my panicking. Usually chewing gum or eating something helps me. So I totally get where you are coming from.

    1. On trans-atlantic flights, I usually take a few benedryl and sleep through the whole thing. It’s for the best. I do wish I could do that on domestic flights but the flight attendants probably wouldn’t appreciate having to shake me awake. πŸ˜‰

    2. bracysarah says:

      I agree too! Trans-Atlantic flights helps me relax. There is less jolting of the plane too because they are so large. Flying itself, to me, is an amazing feat.

      I once rode a prop in South America. Imagine how scary that was.

  6. I like you statement on booze being offered for free – ha! I remember one flight I was on and the landing gear went down and this lady stands up and yells we are going to blipping die; not a good flyer I take it! Have a Great Day:)

  7. hahaha…maybe the best time to panic would be when the pilot says to the air hostess “Hey Emily, Earl (co pilot) here is taking a nap and i need to go washroom can you hold to the the steering wheel please” without knowing that the microphone is on πŸ˜‰

  8. OMG James Earl Jones, yes! That’s brilliant. They need to act fast here. Also the free booze really should come standard. Somehow, considering you have to pay for your LUGGAGE with some airlines, I’m not entirely hopeful.

      1. Sorry to be so trite with the comment, I was pretending that I could multi-task…fail. So essentially every foot from the ground that I ascend, I am convinced that my soul reads and raises the terror alert full blast throughout the experience. I look around, and no one else seems to be there with me, so I close my eyes, chuckle maniacally, drum on my lap and basically become to absolute worst person to sit next to on a flight…sigh…

  9. I’m with you! I have internal panic when I fly – which is hardly ever. I will drive 10 or 12 hours anytime, rather than fly 2 hours. I guess statistically flying is way safer than driving, but still…

  10. GotC,

    If the parachute fits in your carry-on bag they wouldn’t stop you from bringing it aboard. I would advise against trying to open the door and jumping out until you are absolutely certain that the magic boxes aren’t doing their job correctly. For some reason the staff tend to get a little edgy whenever someone grabs that door latch!

    1. Really? I would think that bringing a parachute on board might be frowned upon….but if it’s not then that’s the best news I’ve heard all day! I promise I’ll make sure that everything is sufficiently bad before I open that door. πŸ˜‰

  11. My magic box tells me how to parent and also grocery shop. Odd note: My kid speaks some mysterious form of pig latin and the pantry’s always stocked with Oreos and Spam.

  12. James Earl Jones *would* be comforting. As long as it’s Mufasa’s voice and not Darth Vader’s coming out of the cabin speakers, of course πŸ™‚

  13. Would you feel better about this if you were supplied with a magic wand when you were boarding? Unfortunately I imagine that magic wands would constitute a security risk and so this idea would never be put into practice. Sad.

  14. Haha I’m the same, don’t do anything that could freak me out on a plane, like turbulence, noises the plane makes, stewadesses talking to eachother or like you said, the pilot using words I dont know. I’d rather not fly at all.

  15. I’m glad you didn’t rush the cockpit door to let the pilot know how off base he was!! Then I would hae panicked at the thought of how much trouble you’d be in – though your point is well taken! Hope you landed safe and sound..

  16. The free booze would definitely be of help!

    I loooooooooooove flying, gives me the best sensation in the world. I know I’m a weirdo in that sense but I really do.

    Also when you’re wearing a watch on an airplane, time really flies πŸ˜‰

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