My fear of flying is one of those creeping, niggling worms in the pit of the stomach that writhes around and knots itself until you puke, like a debt worry, or when you’ve told a horrible lie. It creeps up on me, a few weeks before I know I’m stepping onto a plane, a second at a time, until a few days before when I start thinking about it a little more and a little more until I’m awake at night, picturing myself inside a plane smashing into the sea or being eaten by passengers who were lucky enough to survive and are now stuck somewhere on the Alps.
Usually my imagination conjures up a narrative a lot like the one on the pilot episode of "Lost," where it’s a bit of a bumpy flight, then BAM! The back rips off and BAM! Half of us are dead (I’m always in that half) and the other half are marooned on some shit island that doesn’t even have Wi-Fi (which is worse? I’m not actually sure).
If it isn’t that plot, then it’s the one in "Final Destination," when that hot guy who played Eminem in the Stan video suddenly throws a wobbler and refuses to get on the plane and then BAM! He watches it blow up. Except I’m always ON the plane. There’s no respite in my imagination! It’s a dark, dark place inside my mind before I go on holiday.
Don’t get me wrong. I fucking love holidays. I don’t fear dying so much that I won’t actually get on a flight. I’ll be convinced I’m going to die through the whole thing, but with the right amount of valium and gin, I can almost enjoy a flight. I’ve worked out that I need to take three valium and have three G&Ts before I relax, and then I just keep on topping it up until I stop getting served drinks (this has actually only ever happened once, on a flight to Washington DC. I was shitfaced.)
After an hour or so, I kind of relax into my nice little gin buzz and normally tell Chris I love him a few times and try and stroke his face. I also do this thing where I usually jump out of my seat as soon as the "fasten seatbelt" sign has turned off, and make a bee-line straight for the friendliest looking cabin crew and tell them I’m scared of flying and could they PLEASE (picture my insane, beseeching eyes) tell me if there’s going to be any turbulence? That way, if there’s any turbulence that I haven’t been told about, I know I’m going to die and I can just ACCEPT IT. (I told you its dark inside my mind).
As well as uncovering deep-rooted mental issues, there are also other hazards of flying. For one, I'm a fully paid up member of the Fat Foot Clan, and my feet don’t enjoy being at altitude. They hate me as it is, and the merest whiff of an airplane meal and they balloon. Throw in a 9-hour flight and I basically look like a Weeble. My favorite birthday present this year was from my fellow-water-retaining friend Hayley -– some flight socks. They’re totally bad-ass.
Flying can make you look like complete crap, quite quickly. Short haul flights are bad enough what with the harsh air conditioning and the food that bloats you and you can’t even fart without the person next to you knowing it was you. Long haul flights make even the glossiest, dewiest, virginal supermodel look like shit if they don’t prepare. These are my top tips for being able to look half decent when you arrive at your destination!
1)When you get on the flight, take ALL your make up off. ALL OF IT. Straight away. If you wear contacts, take them out and put your glasses on. You don’t want dry eyes! I always pack baby wipes in my hand luggage for this purpose. I have it on good authority that when Victoria Beckham gets on a flight she does exactly this. My mate sat next to her once on a LON-NYC flight, if baby wipes are good enough for Queen Vic they’re good enough for me, thanks.
2)Slather yourself in moisturizer. The air inside the cabin will be drying out your lovely fresh face at a rate of knots. Keep on applying, evangelically.
3)Change into something comfy. The best is when you fly Upper Class and they give you those sleep suits. Pyjamas work well. Yes, you may look slightly mental with your gin and tonic in one hand, naked face covered in moisturizer and alternating wildly between crying and laughing at Jen Aniston’s latest LOLfest on the seatback entertainment, but hey -- your nice clothes will still be fresh and clean at the end of it. They’re nicely packed away in your overhead storage, to be retrieved at the end.
4)Get yourself an Evian Facial Water Spray and spritz it on your face every now and again. It will refresh and tone, and sober you up a bit! Cabin crew swear by it.
5)Bring a teeny tiny pot of Vaseline Lip Therapy in your hand luggage and swipe it on your eyebrows and eyelashes to keep yourself looking groomed while sans make up (if that’s your thing). Pat on cheekbones to give yourself a glow, and apply to your lips to form a barrier from that nasty air. I like the Rosy Lips version.
6)ALWAYS bring a toothbrush and toothpaste, and brush your teeth before you leave the flight. I find it wakes you up, but that’s probably because I’m always drunk on flights.
7)This is the obvious one, although I don’t actually do it because I am very naughty. Don’t drink alcohol, as it dehydrates you. Keep drinking water. I know I should, but I don’t. Maybe one day!
Before I leave the plane, I always put my make-up back on, and change into my holiday attire (something short) and thank my lucky stars that I’ve made it out of the flying tomb alive. I’m flying to South Africa in November which is ELEVEN HOURS and I’m panicking already.
How do you deal with long flights? Got any tips and tricks I can thieve? Sat next to any celebs in-flight? Sharing is caring!
Natalie is going mad about people at work stealing her cheese from the fridge over on Twitter! @Natalie_KateM.