Thursday, 1 August 2019

Flying Without Fear Blog July 2019

Hello and welcome to July flying without fear blog

It is this time of year that many people are heading off on well deserved holidays. It is also a time of great dread for many of them - judging by the emails that we receive.

As we have always said on our courses, not liking flying is okay.  But when the not liking turns into a fear that stops you doing things, then it is a problem.  Not being able to fly robs you of choices to travel how you choose.  Many people on the flying without fear team choose to not travel by flight often.  It is not because they secretly have a fear of flying, it is about convenience or choice.  For example, most Cabin Crew spend so much time in the air, that it is not unusual for them to want to holiday in their home country!  The difference is that they are choosing to fly or not fly for reasons other than fear. 

Travel gives you the opportunity to experience the new and to get deliberately uncomfortable.  To experience cultures that are different and provided we stay curious, give us a different way to look at the world. This is priceless.  We cannot encourage you enough to keep fighting the fear.  Do not let it make the choices for you.  You do not have to like flying to know it is safe.  It is just a mode of transport, a very safe mode but transport all the same.  Flying is just a means of getting from A - B.

Sometimes, we find the familiar amongst the unfamiliar... A picture taken by one of the team as they came through arrivals, Moscow Airport.

Take care,

The flying without fear team

Friday, 14 June 2019

Flying Without Fear Blog June 2019

Welcome to the June 2019 flying without fear blog
We may not be running courses at the moment, but we are still here. If you have questions, please email us and we will get back to you with an answer.  
Thanks by email this week

I hope you don't mind me emailing you but I just had to give you an update 10 years on from attending your course at Manchester Airport on 26th March 2009.
I have just been telling a friend about your Flying without Fear course as her 13 year old son is struggling with an upcoming flight to Australia.  To this day 10 years on I still rave about my day and how much you all helped me overcome my fear. I find myself telling anyone who has a fear and encouraging them to book on. It really is the best money I've ever spent!  
Following the course I continued to do short haul flights but without the fear and trauma that I'd previously had. Holidays became a joy instead of the terror and actual nightmares I would have leading up to the flight and during it. It totally changed my life and holidays became something to look forward to.
What I really to tell you is that last week I returned from a 10 day trip to the Maldives. Shortly after arriving on the island I realised that many years ago my journey would have been impossible.  I could never have actually believed it would happen as I could never have faced the long flights needed to get there (three in total including a seaplane). Such is my complacency with flying now actually it took me a couple of days to realise that prior to attending the course I would not have even entertained the idea.
Whilst telling my friend about the course I attempted to find my feedback that I left and was so pleased to find it in the Manchester Airport section for 2009. I was shocked and very emotional to find that I had even referred to a trip to the Maldives in my feedback. Well I wanted to say thank you again, ten years on for helping to make my dream come true – one more ticked of the bucket list!
Here is my feedback that I left all those years ago:
To the many staff who were present on 26.3.09,

I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to you all, especially Shane - Team Leader, for giving up your own time, hope you had a great time in New York with your brother (sorry I didn't get to say thank you in person at the end, hope you caught your last train home) the commitment and enthusiasm you all gave throughout the day was priceless!!!

I had a wonderful day and was shocked at the number of people booked on the course, it was a comfort to know so many other people have the same fears.

The day was extremely informative, especially the talk from Captain Steve, he managed to dispel all my fears of flying!!!!

By the time it came to boarding I felt so relaxed with no signs of the usual tears, shortness of breath and shear panic. I absolutely loved the flight. After 15 years of terror (after what I thought was a near miss - I now know it was a perfectly safe manoeuvre) it felt amazing to enjoy a flight - I even sat on my own at the back of the plane coming into land!!!

I can't wait to go on holiday in August and look forward to exploring the world and going to see friends who have emigrated...Maldives here I come (when I've saved up)

Thanks again to those involved!!!!!!!
Many thanks again……
Paula Gle....

Another one...


I came on your course in November 2017 after 28 years of not flying due to my fear. I was even too scared to commit to the course. I was very thankful I get a cancellation on the course 24 hours before it started.

This course has changed my life!! My husband said it's drained his wallet. Since that course I have flown to Edinburgh, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Rome and I am sending you this from Cannes!! Thank you so much for enabling me to do this. Next year I am planning to visit the USA!! I recommend the course to everyone I possibly can.

Thank you again
Our mission has been the same since Paul Tizzard, Norman Lees and David Landau started the courses in 1996... to help people to get flying.  Here is a picture that takes us back.  Danny La Rue when he joined one of our early ground based courses to help out.  In the picture, stood with Cabin Crew Trainer Alan Evans.
Take care,
Flying Without Fear Team

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Flying Without Fear Blog May 2019

Hello and welcome to the May 2019 flying without fear blog.

Fear can seem insurmountable at times. It can feel like it is almost impossible to beat it.  It can seem just so big, strong and fixed...It can feel hard to know where to start....  Can you relate to that?

Howard Cooper, one of the many amazing speakers that has worked on our fear of flying programme over the years, described it like a rope.  We always thought that this was a very descriptive and helpful way to describe how fear gets a hold.

A rope is strong.  If you try to break a rope, it is not that easy.  No-one is really that strong.

However, when you actually look at a rope, it is made up of lots of mini ropes.  If you were to take the mini ropes apart, thread by thread, you would eventually be able to break the rope. 

Fear is a bit like that.  It feels so strong, it is hard to know where to start.  The trick is to start.  Start by picking at the fear one strand at a time.


Compare these two approaches:

  • Approach 1
You don't like flying. You cannot bear the thought of it. But sometimes, you just have to take a flight.  You believe that if you just keep going on flights and not do anything else, eventually the fear will be broken. However, each time you fly, the fear gets worse.  So, in fact, using the rope analogy, you are adding another strand of mini rope to the already super strong rope.

Approach 2

Accept the fact that you have a fear of flying.  Give yourself permission to take your time to beat the fear. Do lots of tiny things every week towards beating the fear because  you know that, little by little, you will eventually break the fear.  Do not watch those programmes about air crashes or incidents as you know that these are the same as making the rope thicker and stronger.

Perhaps you can see what you do?  Please consider approach 2 when dealing with your fears....beating a fear is a process that takes a different amount of time for each person.

Take care,
Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic's Flying Without Fear Programme

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Flying Without Fear Blog March 2019

Greetings and welcome to the flying without fear blog

In the news

The recent Ethiopian Airlines crash was a real tragedy and we send our sincere sympathies to all the families and friends of those lost.  Please don't watch all the video clips etc. as they will only feed your own fear. This is a delicate time to say this, but if you are reading this blog you might need some encouraging thoughts too.  Some key messages to remember if we may suggest:
  • This accident, like all accidents, will be thoroughly investigated and learned from. 
  • When the results are known, they are published and every airline around the world will be informed of any changes needed to procedures or equipment or any other lessons that come from this tragedy.
  • Western World Commercial Aviation is incredibly safe and accidents like this are extremely rare.
Also in the news

Did you see this in the news a couple of weeks ago?  A Virgin Dreamliner hit 801 MPH apparently.  How amazing is that?!  Without meaning to do an unashamed advert, the dreamliners are just amazing to fly in. So quiet and smooth - it is definitely a different experience to how most of us take flights.   Here is the link and as we always say, be careful of what you believe in the media.

Thank you by email

I would like to share my experience with you. In 2012 at Southampton I attended one of your 'fear of flying courses', since then I have flown without anxiety to Canada, New York, Dominion Republic, Grenada, Italy, and Greece with my husband;  last year I flew to Geneva on my own, which I never thought in my wildest dreams I would ever do,
 and this year I am flying to Edinburgh on my own, as I turn 70 this year I feel the world has opened up for me. Thank you Virginia Fear of Flying.
Rowena B

CEO Qantas Letter

This was on LinkedIn which is normally pretty good for things ...most of the time.  A 10 year old with aspirations to set up own airline, wrote to the CEO of Qantas. Here is the alleged reply...Hope it is true.

Take care
Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic's flying without fear programme


Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Flying Without Fear Blog January 2019

Hello and welcome to 2019! We hope that you were able to take a restful break?   We are still here, helping people as much as we can despite not having course dates to offer currently.  We are still working on getting some dates for future courses. In the meantime, if you want some free help, you can look on our YouTube channel 'Virgin flying without fear.'  There are various clips there we have amassed over the years to help you.  If you are looking for something good value to help you, please have a look at our book on Amazon, 'Flying Without Fear, 101 fear of flying questions answered.'   We really hope to have some news for you soon regarding dates. Here is a nice email that came in just before 2018 ended... Thanks Phil.

Sent: 30 December 2018 21:23
Subject: Thank you so much!

I completed the Flying without fear course about 10 years ago in Birmingham at the age of 56 having never flown before.

It opened up a whole new world, literally! I've flown many times since, including trips to Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Italy, Turkey, Russia and have just come back from an amazing holiday in India (with Virgin Atlantic of course!), something that I could have only dreamed about before the course.

I loved the Dreamliner experience, especially the Premium Economy on the way home, very welcome after an exciting but tiring holiday.
 I just wanted to reiterate my huge thanks to your amazing team for the excellent course. I never fail to recommend it to anyone I meet who is at all apprehensive about flying and there are quite a lot of them! Thanks again and keep up the good work.Best wishes
Phil B


Take care,

The flying without fear team

+ 44 1423 714900
YouTube - virginflyingwithoutfear
Facebook -  virginflyingwithoutfear
Our Book: Flying Without Fear 101 fear of flying questions answered

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Flying without fear blog December 2018

Welcome to the December blog....
Last month, we were 21!  

Paul Tizzard wrote to Richard Branson in October 1996 with the idea of fear of flying courses to help the public.  Sir Richard immediately loved the idea and with the support of Steve Ridgway (CEO Virgin Atlantic) gave the go ahead.

Here is a picture from September 1997 at the official launch of the programme with the key people at the time.
From left to right:

Capt. Norman Lees, Freda Angus (General Manager), Steve Ridgeway (CEO), David Landau (Psychotherapist), Lois Diplock (Ground Staff), Dawn Dart (Aviation Medicine), Paul Tizzard (Programme Creator), Ruth Davies (Customer Service Manager)

Our mission, from the outset was as Capt. Normal Lees put it, 'Let's get people flying!'  His passion was to help people to get flying - no matter what airline.

We started our courses with some simple ideas which have remained in place ever since - no matter how big the courses have got.  The first five years, we ran courses without flights despite being offered them by Steve Ridgeway at the beginning - we wanted to keep the courses small and friendly.  Of course, over the years, the courses have evolved but the DNA remains the same.

1st November 1997, the first official courses ran.  we set up our courses with a few simple aims that we have stuck with ever since – no matter how big or small the course is.
Our Aims

  • To give you back control of how you travel
  • To keep the staff ratio high so that our courses feel as friendly and as welcoming as when we started with just 8 delegates on 1st  Nov 1997
  • To treat you as adults who are professional, capable people that just happen to have fears/phobias
  • To give you honest facts about flying safety
  • To give you tried and tested psychological techniques and approaches
  • To pamper you while you are with us – hence, we give you proper food and refreshments all day included in the price
  • To make your day fun as well as informative
  • To make sure speakers are carefully vetted so they are not just knowledgeable but also empathic
  • To after you in the way you would expect from a Virgin offering
We have continued to improve and innovate along the way but you can still see the thread of the courses has not changed.

We are really sorry that we do not have any courses to offer you at the moment but we are working on it...

Take care

Paul Tizzard
Virgin Flying Without Fear Creator

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Flying Without Fear Blog October 2018

Greetings.  Welcome to the October 2018 blog.

'It seems that there are always aircraft incidents going on...'

This was something said to one of us recently.  When questioned, it doesn't stand up to much scrutiny.  Q. So why is that people have this perception that there is always something going on?

Our theory...

Anything, and we mean anything that happens at an airport will make the news. It does not have to be very dramatic. The public are hungry for aviation related incidents. It is interesting even for the alleged non-nervous flyers.  There are always stories out there about aircraft and airport related being unsafe in some way.  Most of it is not true. Many of the stories we hear about turn about to be exaggerated at best and often woefully inaccurate. 

Q. So what can you do to inoculate yourself to inaccurate information?

You probably can't stop listening to things like that. However, you can decide what happens next.  We always suggest that you should ask an objective expert.  Drop us an email or, you can go on sites like this one.  This is  Government site that offers the facts.  Link here.

Thanks by email  


From: Dawn
Subject: Thank you

I just wanted to thank you. I attended your fear of flying course in March, not telling anyone as I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself. I was amazed at the amount of people who shared my fear. The whole experience was amazing and your staff were truly brilliant. Every question I had was answered and to have the staff and captain then join you for a flight, explaining every sound and sharing that flight with people who all shared this same fear made such a difference.
I had tried over the past 20 years to get over my fear but because I did not know what I was frightened of or where it came from made it very difficult to resolve.
Flying used to be the best part of my holiday and when I was young I had worked in Tenerife and was accustomed to flying alone. For some unknown reason later in life when I was flying quite a lot for work from absolutely nowhere I had this terrible fear that just came on over a few flights, it was so bad that if I looked at a plane in the sky my stomach would turn like I was going on a roller coaster. My last  flight to Edinburgh with work I had to call and say I couldn't get the flight back and came home on a train. I never flew again for over 9 years which was such a disappointment to my husband and children. 9 years later my friends husband had a very bad stroke which made me realise that life is too short so I went to the doctors who gave me some tablets and  we booked a holiday the following week, so left myself no time to change my mind, we had to get passports and everything. Anyway I cried and was petrified but did it but it ruined my holiday as I spent the whole time worried about coming home, all of my friends said you just have to do more and you will be ok, anyway we did a further two holidays in a 4 month period but it just got worse and 11 years ago I said to my husband and children that is it I will never fly again, and found that we could holiday without flying by taking a cruise from Southampton which is what we did for the past 11 years.
After completing your course this March, I booked a holiday and flew  to Tenerife  in April with my friend, put a deposit on an apartment that my son and I completed on in July and last month I returned from going out on my own for a weekend, so that is 3 flights I have completed since attending your course in March, one being on my own and I am expecting to fly virtually every month. 

If this time last year someone would have told me that I would fly again, buy a property and fly on my own I would have never believed it. I will say I am still nervous and really do not like the taking off but thanks to your course, the tapping technique, it has changed my life, so thank you and your team so very much.
Kind regards

Sad Loss of one of our team leaders

Here is a message from Richard Conway, Course Director:

David Flynn was an incredibly giving and caring member of our team. He originally came to us for help with his own fears of flying, prior to helping so many others with their fears. He was a great support to Paul and I, regularly travelling all over the country to attend FWF courses, wherever he was needed. 
Such was his passion for FWF, David insisted on having his own car professionally sign written, to promote FWF courses and he regularly handed out business cards to those who enquired around Manchester, where he lived.
I have no doubt that all those who knew and worked with David will be deeply saddened by the awful news. 
Best wishes to you all,

Take care,

Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear

Extra help whilst we are sorting out new premium courses:

121 Courses:   Our executive/celebrity 121 courses are still available should you need them. They are tailored to the specific needs of the individual that contacts us
Our Book: flying without fear - 101 fear of flying questions answered
YouTube: VirginFlyingWithoutFear