Flying without fear...I wish!

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I am in complete awe of the people who decided to continue with their holiday to Tenerife after their plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Belfast’s International Airport this week.

The Thomas Cook airbus 320 had 175 people on board and touched down safely just before 11:30am after it had circled for an hour burning fuel before landing.

There were no reports of any injuries although some passengers, speaking to media, said they had been traumatised by the event.

I can only imagine the horror they must have felt. Circling the skies over Lough Neagh, knowing there was a problem with the landing gear and not knowing if they were ever going to land safely.

When I’m flying, I’m never totally convinced that I’ll land safely. My husband will testify to this. I’m genuinely surprised that his arm doesn’t have bruises from the number of times I’ve grabbed it in sheer panic when we’ve experienced the slightest hint of turbulence.

I hate flying. I’m not overstating this fact. I’ve been through labour and I’d happily endure two or three childbirth experiences every year rather than having to take to the air for travel.

There are only two things I hate more than flying. One is those people who harp on about the fact that statistically you’re safer in the air than you are on the roads. Statistics will mean very little to you if you happen to be in the minority who are screaming in fear as their plane hurtles towards the ground at death causing speeds. I’m sure the last thing many of those people think about is the smug person at that dinner party who told them flying was safer than driving. In fact,anyone who starts a sentence with the word ‘statistically’ should be punished with an enforced silence.

The other thing I hate more than the quoting of boring and pointless statistics when it comes to air travel are the people who pretend that they’re ultra cool and fine with flying and treat the rest of us as if we’re irrational maniacs.

You know the type. Usually young business types frantically playing with their smartphones while simultaneously wrestling with their copy of The Telegraph.

They’re blase to an annoying degree and secretly telling themselves that it’s all going to be alright.

But really, we’re all in the same boat - or plane in this case.

If anything major goes on, there isn’t much hope. Let’s face it, while it’s mannerly to listen to cabin staff giving safety advice before take off, when push comes to brace who’ll really remember how to inflate that life jacket.

And if you don’t remember, do you really think that girl wearing too much makeup who spent the flight trying to sell you scratch cards will turn out to be a vital member of an air rescue emergency team? I wouldn’t bank on it.

Of course like most things it’s a question of weighing up the pros and cons. The major pro to flying is being able to escape the rain and go somewhere slightly more exotic than the North West of Ireland.

The cons, I think, I have detailed.

Fair play to the people enjoying their holidays in Tenerife. If it was me, I’d be looking forward to a lifetime of holidays around Ireland.