OK, I will admit it. I developed a severe fear of flying back in 2001, for several reasons, nothing of which had to do with 9/11, although that didn't help. Unfortunately, I was in a situation where I had to make several flight since that time and I had to literally sweat it out. Of course, I ended up canceling and postponing flights whenever I could as the fear kept getting worse.
Part of the problem was being on flights where the turbulence was terrible, finally culminating in a flight that I would rate a 10 on a 1 to 10 scale, where 10 is the worst. I was on a flight from Washington DC to California, and about 10 minutes before take-off, the pilot came out of the cockpit, walking down the aisle, and said "I have an announcement to make." This was after 9/11 and there weren't many people on the plane. He said "We are going to hit some bad turbulence that is really, really bad. I wanted to prepare you ahead of time." This was a first, as I'd never seen a pilot come out to make an announcement.
My first thought was that I really appreciated that fact that the pilot let us know what is going on. There is nothing worse than a flight with a problem where the pilot doesn't let the passengers know what is going on. (Once I was on a regional airline flight where the plane flipped to a 45 degree angle, and the pilot said nothing, so after we landed, started to depart the plane, and as I was leaving, I asked him what the hell happened. His response: "Caught in the vortex of a 747.")
Anyway, getting back to my 10 out of 10 flight, I almost stood up to get my bag out of the overhead container to leave the plane and try to find a train to get back home. But I wanted to get home quickly and thought I could put up with it, so I decided to stay.
The flight was fine for a while until we started going over the Rocky Mountains. The plane started bouncing all over the place, creaking with the wings bouncing up and down, It kept going on and on, then all of a sudden, the plane went into a nose dive and dropped about a thousand feet. (The plane had TV screens which showed maps, altitude, etc.) Everyone on the plane screamed, men, women, children.
We leveled out but the plane was still bouncing like crazy. I thought the turbulence would never stop. The plane then took another 1000 foot dive; more screams. I actually can't even remember what happened after that. I just vaguely remember having the turbulence continue over the Sierra mountains. Of course, it was practically the finally straw for me in terms of flying.
Fortunately, last year I discovered a course that is very effective for treating and curing the fear of flying. The course is called SOAR and is available at fearofflying.com. The course was created by a pilot and licensed therapist who has been providing these service since 1982. The course is available as video DVDs, audio CDs, MP4 downloads, and online. The course is available in parts but I would strongly recommend that you get the whole package. The cost is about the price of a coach plane ticket. The course worked for me and I highly recommend it.