Massive online check-in stress

You’ll be ok. Make a joke of it. Tell them you’ve planned for every eventuality, but not this. Say it with a smile.

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It was possibly a mistake to Google it. Some people saying “it’s random, it’s nothing”. Other people describing horrifying experiences.


I was abused as a child and this has had a number of lifelong effects.

First, I don’t like being touched, and the idea of “enhanced patdowns” is not something that is appealing to the most easy-going person, let alone me.

Second, I don’t like people touching my stuff. It can trigger quite an explosive reaction from me. Watching someone unpack my painstakingly packed suitcase would/will be a very challenging situation for me.

I once nearly got in trouble at the immigration checkpoint at the Gard du Nord in Paris when I was returning to the UK from a holiday. Because of ludicrous bureaucracy there’s a French immigration checkpoint at the station and literally about 20ft behind it there’s a British one. You have to go through both. It’s ridiculous. And I said so. The UK immigration official was not impressed and it could have gotten out of hand.

Airports are not places to lose your temper or freak out, so I shall do my utmost to be calm.

As I understand it, the kind of control freakery that you’ve all come to know and love about me is typical of survivors of abuse. The idea being that if you control every last thing in your life then nothing bad can happen to you again.

I sometimes even get triggered by my dog. If we’re out for a walk and he’s on the lead and suddenly drags me off in another direction, it’s flashback central.


When are you leaving? Let’s think about you beautiful packing. Yes, they may go through it. It is ok! You can fix it. Now- start thinking of something magical you cannot wait to see again. Keep that thought! Put it away until you need it. Breath! You got this!


profmatt, thanks for sharing this. I have a friend with a similar background, so I understand your feelings just a very small bit. Know this, you are a survivor, and you are strong. Check in will be a violation of your stuff, but nothing compared to what you have suffered in the past. This screening is nothing personal against you, just a safety measure. You can do this, and you will prove that you are still a survivor, and then you will have a great trip. We are all rooting for you!


So, have you ever tried mindfulness as a technique during truly stressful times? I have found that it is particularly useful in overwhelming situations for which you have no control. It is very simple, but you have to remember to use the technique. It has to do with knowing where you are at that moment. You are at an airport. You aren’t back in childhood. Your feet are on the floor if you are standing. Think about where you are standing. Think about what is happening at that moment, and why it is happening. It will help you to redirect your attention from a past event. It works.

Another technique that I have used a lot when facing crippling OCD was to look for the things I could control in situations such as yours. For example, what can you control in a situation where other people are going through your things at an airport? Well, you can control yourself, because you are an adult with self-control. You may think you don’t have self-control, but look at the way you packed your bags! You can also control putting the things back in the nice neat way that they were before.

You can do this!!!


I don’t have much that is helpful to add. Due to my own trauma, I also find things surrounding travel anxiety producing. Sometimes, that’s where medication comes in. I realize you’re leaving almost immediately, but maybe you have a prescription that your doc has given you in the past? I carry Ativan with me in case something triggers a panic attack. But there are also essential oils that help me be mindful of my surroundings.
Anyway, just a note to let you know you’re not alone and that I understand these feelings you’re dealing with.


It helps that I mostly understand what’s going on in my head now. I didn’t use to and I’d explode in response to relatively trivial stimuli and not understand why.

Years ago a kid sat in the wrong seat in my class after I’d carefully planned a seating chart. I went ballistic. As I say, it’s a control thing. Loss of control induces great panic or anger in me.


We are all rooting for you. Can’t wait to hear about your trip.


The good news is you have your seat, right? You booked the upper class, so no cattle car for you? It’s possible that this is the reason they want to see you… to make sure of something on your ticket. Heck, my mom had this issue once (about 10 years ago, mind you) and it was as simple as the system couldn’t let her check in on line because she’d made a change to her ticket since the booking. This may have nothing to do with immigration or any security issue.

Wear something on the plane that looks good… could even be an upgrade… be respectful. If you feel out of control, take a deep breath and look away. Think about your first item on the list. If they ask why you’re nervous, tell them. You are a person who needs to visualize your experiences before they happen and change or surprise in your plans throws you off, but you’ll be fine (smile).


I understand where your pain. I had a near panic attack the day before our last Disney trip when I went to check into my JetBlue flight. My seat assignments were gone and I couldn’t check in. So I called JetBlue and they couldn’t fix it on the phone, I had to wait until we checked in at the airport. Yikes! Get to the airport, they put us in the last row. I ask for confirmation for my seats on the flight home and we board. Last morning of our Disney trip, we go to check our bags at the resort and we have no assigned seats and so no resort bag check. I was livid!!! Called JetBlue again, and gave them the confirmation numbers from the printout that I requested at the airport and they told me that form was incorrect. Then our ME was late, we got stuck in traffic and arrived less than an hour before our flight. We raced to the desk, took whatever seats were available, back row again, and then ran through security. We got to the gate and found out that our flight was delayed 2 hours due to bad weather in NY. Whew! It was awful, stressful and entirely unnecessary, but we got through it.
You are going to Disney World, again. You are flying on a great airline. You are going to have an amazing time and we will be following along with you during every step of the way. I’m hoping you book a quick return trip with your bounce back offer, just to read your posts. Hang out with your dog and don’t worry about the extra security check.

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I really hope things go as well as possible. :heart:

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I’m so sorry. Travel is stressful for anyone, but I can’t imagine how stressful it is for someone who has control issues. I agree that Googling things is not a good idea. People don’t generally post about things going well. You’re only reading the horror stories. Best of luck.


I just want to hug you and throat punch whoever hurt you like that. :cry:

Sending you strength. You’ve got this. :muscle:t3:


Well, please count me among the many folks here sending positive thoughts your way. I have no advice to give, although I think much of what I have read here sounds like a starting spot.

All I will say is that it seems like you have a good amount of self-awareness… and that might go a long way to help.

Be well!


Ugh. Not the message you want to get. Try not to worry about it until you arrive at the airport. Worry will not change the scenario, and who knows, maybe it’s just a computer glitch and you will breeze through after face-to-face checkin. Safe travels


Sending you positivity and pixie dust!


Adding to all the others who are sending positive thoughts for stress free travel! And can’t wait to hear about your trip once you’re there!


There’s not much more I can add here…everyone has shared wonderful tips and hopefully, it will help you through the next 24 hours. Sending lots of pixie dust and good, HAPPY vibes your way. Remember, we’re all going to be waiting on you to report back regularly…leaving ALL the control in your hands as to when that might happen. Tables turned. LOL


For updates, see here: Trip report J180 - #29 by inactiveprofile

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And here: Trip report J180 - #44 by inactiveprofile