So, today my sister asked me if I’d ever flown by myself. After I’d finished giggling over the mental image over me flapping my arms for all their worth and using the power of my little bird and birdlike tattoos to keep me alive as I threw myself off the roof of a high building, I answered the question seriously and told her that yes, yes I have gone to the airport all by myself and flown to another country. When I asked her why she was asking, she said that her friend was having a hen do abroad and as she was unable to go for the whole thing she would either need to fly there or back by herself and she was, understandably, scared. Her fear will definitely not be helped by her lack of bird or birdlike tattoos.
Still this got me to thinking, what is it about planes that make people not want to get on them alone? Thousands of people get on buses and trains every day by themselves and think nothing of it. Granted planes are 35,000 feet in the air and generally going a lot further, but if you need to go somewhere and no-one else needs to go with you, why does that become more of a concern when you’re flying?
My memories of my first and, to be fair, only solo flight are actually pretty good. I got on the train from Leeds to Manchester, monitoring the rain situation out of the window so I knew when I crossed the Yorkshire/Lancashire border, arrived, checked in, did the security thing with no issues (I did think they might be a little suspicious of the lone travelling redhead but no) then went to the bar. Again, drinking is not normally something I’d do by myself, especially before ten in the morning, but my fear of flying which I have in spite of the bird tattoos, meant it had to be done. Then with no delays (a miracle I’m sure you’ll agree), I got on the plane, had a minor panic attack as it took off then had a very nice conversation with the Flight Attendant about Sweden and what a lovely place it is. Then there were no dramas until my minor panic attack on landing and I was there, in Sweden, and I’d got there all by myself and as small and insignificant achievement it may seem, I actually felt pretty proud of myself. I then proceeded to have an amazing time with my Swedish residing friends who I obviously see far too little of, and got back to the UK all by myself. The only really horrible bit that sticks in my mind, is having to look at all the pictures of Man U players in the airport. Trauma. Actual trauma.
Anyway, my sister has decided that she is going to fly to Ibiza by herself as if she flew out with her friends she would be panicking the whole holiday about the solo flight back. But I think when she gets off that plane having done it, she’ll feel a whole lot different and it won’t seem like such a big deal anymore.
A little bit of time by yourself can help you feel more independent, give you time to get to know yourself and actually make you a better person when you’re around other people. So have a little flight outside your comfort zone. You don’t have to actually leave the country. Just go for a coffee by yourself, have a walk around the park, whatever. Trust me, you’ll likely be glad you did and who knows what you might end up doing then?