i just wanted to say thank you SO much to everyone who responded with flying advice on this post. several of you gave me some new tricks that really put me at ease!
i also lucked out & sat next to a dude who not only reminded me a lot of robbie (which was comforting), but also chatted with me and kept me laughing with stories about his wife who also hates flying...oh, and my panic attacks kept him laughing too.
and robbie also saved the day by writing me 7 notes (above) to read at timed intervals throughout the flight. he's, like, such a babe.