y Wandering column, In the Clouds, which ran a few weeks ago, generated a huge response from folks like me, who really don't like to fly in airplanes.

Since the feedback was so great, I thought some of you might want to hear what other people said about their own cases. Several people indicated they are uncomfortable having other people know about their fear of flying, so I'll identify the writers using just an initial.

  • 'N' said his view is that the "smartest people share this phobia."
  • "They think that, since no person or computer is smart enough to deal with every possible combination of catastrophic events, surviving a flight is just a matter of having good luck."

  • 'O' said that her fear almost caused her to cancel a trip to Hawaii.
  • "I live in the Detroit area and a nine-and-a-half-hour flight to Honolulu is no easy feat. I had to leave my seat at one point and cry my eyes out in the bathroom. Over-the-counter sleeping pills had no effect on me."

  • 'C' wrote that she, too, is a white-knuckled passenger.
  • "I go through every possible scenario of disasters that could possibly happen before I even board a plane. I even try to get a look at the pilot to make sure his cap is on straight and his eyes aren't red."

    'C' said that she "desensitizes" herself by working through her anxiety before she leaves for the airport.

  • 'R' said that she had a really scary experience when her plane had a mechanical problem and had to return fast to the Houston airport.
  • "We had to dump fuel over the gulf," she wrote, "and there was a guy sitting next to me who kept saying we were going to crash. Finally, I told him to shut up."

  • 'A' said that she's worried about her upcoming honeymoon trip, which will entail a five-hour flight.
  • "Thanks for writing about fear of flying," 'A' wrote. "People assume that because we are in the travel business, we should be great travelers."

  • 'S' wrote to tell me about a class for fearful flyers, called Logan's Heroes, named for the TV show "Hogan's Heroes."
  • "It was a group of about 15 to 25 fearful flyers and the class was led by a doctor. After several weeks of classes they all took a flight to Montreal as a graduation trip."

  • 'H' offered an enlightening view of the situation.
  • "What really annoys me," she wrote, "is that the plane will crash on landing and I will have suffered through a whole flight. Let's get it over right at the beginning, is my motto."

    Many thanks to all who e-mailed me. It was great to hear from all of you and I do hope you'll write again. Meanwhile, safe travels.

    Donna Tunney is executive editor of Travel Weekly, Travel Weekly Crossroads and Travel Management Daily.

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