Fear and loathing up the mile-high club
As journalists, we get to fly so frequently it’s become like hopping on and off a bus, even if that bus is more often than not an Airbus. This year so far, my frequent-flyer miles have already been augmented by at least a dozen flights, both within China on short-haul routes and longer journeys abroad.
Some of us have never quite gotten used to flying, even though we have been hopping on and off planes more and more in the past 30 years— causing insurance premiums to climb in tandem.
You must have faith that several tons of machinery will perform the necessary miracle of flight; that your pilot knows exactly what he’s doing and where he’s going; and that at the end of the scheduled hours of being suspended mid-air, you will safely land at your chosen destinations in one piece, the turbulence of the voyage all but forgotten until the next time.
Most of us are blase about flying, not because we have conquered our fears but because we have gotten used to the routine. We are able to walk on and off the plane without too much panic— at least until a grim reminder pops off the front pages.
I hope with allmy heart that by the time you are reading this, the missing crewand passengers of MH370 would have all returned home after having disappeared off the radar for so many days.
At the very least, we would have been offered some reasonable answers as to what actually happened that fateful day when it took off from Kuala Lumpur and never arrived in Beijing as it was supposed to have done.
When the news first broke, I was on the high-speed rail en route to Shanghai to board a 12-hour flight to Seattle. Needless to say, an icy hand gripped both heart and mind as every conceivable fear about flying immediately resurfaced.
For the first time inmany years, I was actually afraid to fly, even though my son had dismissedmy maudlin