The moment of truth had arrived - there I was in the car park of Belfast International Airport, waiting to check in for my experience flight.
I had the usual dose of nerves which I habitually feel before flying, but alongside this was a dogged determination to truly ‘experience’ it through the eyes of a logical thinker; I knew that Jackson would be in the cabin with us, explaining every turn and tilt of the aircraft, and my aim was not to waste this opportunity, or withdraw into the ball of terror that I usually became.
Inside the terminal, I wasn’t the only one feeling trepidatious; I even noted one young girl in tears in the queue to check in. After checking in and purchasing my usual fear suppressant - chocolate - I got chatting with some of my fellow fearful fliers, and we exchanged horror stories and admitted how agitated we were feeling.
One lady admitted that the last time she was on a plane was 16 years ago - and you could smoke mid-flight. I took my place on the aircraft alongside her and another young woman, bravely offering to occupy the window seat, which is something I could normally never contemplate. Around me some passengers were already practising their tapping techniques, and before long Captain Lloyd-Hitt introduced us to the crew, including the softly-spoken Yvonne, from the south of Ireland, who was to be flying us on our route across the North Channel, around Glasgow, and back across the Isle of Man and into Belfast.
We taxied onto the runway and nodded our heads as we heard each of the sounds Jackson had spoken about the previous day, as well as his running commentary with each step of the journey.
As we gained speed, instead of the usual sweaty-palmed terror I normally felt, I found myself calmly
focused on what Jackson was saying about our speed, angle of take-off; then I noticed the ‘sinking’ feeling and knew that was the nose dropping.
For the first time in a long time, I was able to look out of my window and watch as the flaps on the wing moved down ‘to create a streamlined shape’ which enabled acceleration. And finally, I could appreciate that view, of fluffy clouds and shimmering sky. Was this what I had missed out on this time?
There was an atmosphere of joviality inside the cabin, and Lawrence himself was walking up and down the aisle, chatting to smiling passengers. Some had used their tapping techniques, and possibly their brain training ones as well.
Myself, all I had relied on was good old fashioned communication from the trusted professionals. As we descended, and I took in the beautiful scenery of Northern Ireland, I knew that I would never be so nervous about flying again.
l EasyJet’s Fearless Flyer courses cost £189 per person and you can invite a companion on the Experience flight for just £69. There is also a gift voucher option for people wishing to offer the course as a birthday, Christmas or anniversary gift. To book a place on one of easyJet’s Fearless Flyer courses or to purchase a voucher visit: fearlessflyer.easyjet.com.
Laura McMullan shows off her certificate proving that she has conquered her fears
easyJet’s Fearless Flying course is the perfect way to address your flying worries