What's Your 'I'm Safe Now' Activity When Flying?

Illustration for article titled Whats Your Im Safe Now Activity When Flying?

During a conversation with Vulture at this week’s Time 100 gala, Serial host Sarah Koenig revealed what she does at 30,000 feet to reduce her fear of flying.

I watch Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2 when I’m on an airplane, because I’m terrified of airplanes ... Those are my ‘I’m safe now’ movies.


Basically what she’s saying is that flying makes her scared, Legally Blonde movies make her feel safe, and that Legally Blonde watchers just don’t get scared while flying. They just don’t!

My fear of flying is pretty limited to take-offs, so my “I’m safe now” move is to concentrate on a book as we accelerate down the runway and lift off. I don’t actually do any reading during this time — my brain is far too concerned with our plane reaching cruising altitude to pay attention to silly things like sentences — but staring at the book keeps my eyes off the disappearing tarmac and makes me seem like a fearless flyer. “Look at that guy,” I imagine passengers thinking about me. “He’s just reading a book, not impressed at all by the miracle of flight or scared of what could happen as we ascend.” Imagining I project an absence of fear helps me calm down, somehow.


How about you? What’s your signature “I’m safe now” move?

Image via screengrab.

Contact the author at bobby@jezebel.com.

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On takeoff, I start by reading a magazine. Not a book— too involved. Must have pictures. Then once we are actually gaining speed, I start a breathing exercise that I threw together after a couple yoga sessions and a few internet articles about anxiety or something. Basically I concentrate on breathing in and out and think only about that, and then push out the thoughts that come in between the breaths. Once we are pretty well off the ground (i.e., where it looks like we are up for real, not that horrible time where it seems like we’re only 10 feet off the ground and there are like buildings next to us), I go back to the magazine for a bit. About two minutes into it, I can switch to being a normal person and doing whatever.

The only fly in the ointment is when the pilot decides we need to take a giant sharp turn on takeoff. That actually can make me cry, which is so pathetic on a 42 year old woman with two kids. Once, we dropped a bit on takeoff coming out of Reno and I seriously lost it. But the worst was coming home from Fiji for my 10th anniversary— so my kids weren’t with us. It was late at night and I was tired, so the tears were just streaming as the pilot made a hard right about 10 seconds into the takeoff. That’s how you know a really bad flyer— we’re better off when the entire family is together.