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

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Flying Without Fear Blog September 2018

Hello and welcome to our flying without fear blog.

A question that we get asked a lot...?  What airlines are safest to fly with and not?  Saw this recently on Yahoo and here is the link to an interesting article allegedly naming the 20 safest airlines.

Despite us recommending this to you, please always take a balanced view of what websites say is a safe airline over another airline. 

As a rule of thumb, we and our families would happily fly (safety wise) any airline that operates in the developed world airspace.  Anything that flies into UK has to meet our standards for example.  It is also reassuring to know that other parts of the world operate to similar high standards.

Thanks by email

People write to us often with their own stories. We always ask permission to print them.  And the reason why?   Many of you tell us that you find the stories inspiring and helpful.  These are ordinary people like you that have done something extraordinary.

Hi Paul, Richard and FWF team,

I attended your course at Gatwick in November last year and I'm pleased to say I've just returned from a short break in Jersey and flew for the first time in nearly 6 years.

It took me a while to pluck up the courage to book a flight after doing the course but I'm so glad I did.

I found your course really helpful and although I still struggled with my stress levels, I was able to keep my mind from worrying about the worst that could happen and actually enjoyed the view.

The flights were quite straight forward, although the outbound flight was a bit bumpy through some clouds.

The next step is to go a bit further affield, I've been thinking about Berlin. Ultimately, I want to go to Disneyland Florida and New Zealand to visit my best friend. Thanks to your help, I'm sure I'll get there!

Thanks again!!
Kate D

A seasoned flyer thanks us

Hi Paul and team,

Once again thank you for your invite on the 4/3/18 of which I attended nearly 21 years after that first initial course.
The strange thing from 21 years ago was that after the sudden death of my father[aged 57] I felt obliged to treat my family to a big holiday to Florida so one evening in/or around May/June 1997 I booked this through Virgin Holidays for the following April 1998.
The very next morning I called Virgin Holidays up to cancel that holiday as I just could not go through with it.
Virgin Holidays asked me to hold this request until they had made contact with you and at that time you were planning to start a Flying Without Fear Course.
That same day I spoke to you and I agreed to be one of the first participants on the course as I then explained-If you can help cure me you can help cure anyone. The rest is now very positive history that I will never be able to thank you enough for.

21 years on - my 100 year old Grandmother [my Fathers Mother] passes away-leaves me some money and once again I feel obliged to treat my family. This time I now research what aircraft we are flying on with Virgin Atlantic,  I go on Seat Guru to find the best economy seats that I can afford. As always promised - we only fly with Virgin Atlantic long haul and £3428 later myself and four other members of the family are looking forward to a three week road trip around California. All of this is now happening because of You and all the members of your fantastic team.

I am living proof that facing this fear of flying 21 years ago has opened up a world of fantastic experiences for myself and my family and I am more than certain this would never have been achieved without the commitment of The Flying Without Fear staff conducting such a workable system of approach-then and also now

I truly thank your Team for not forgetting me as I will not forget what you all have done for me.

With Appreciation and Kind Regards.

Lee Midwinter
The media

We have had some pretty strong winds over here with Storm Ali...  This is an article I saw with this heading which we don't think is very helpful:

Storm Ali latest: heart-stopping moment Ryanair plane abandons touchdown at Dublin Airport

If you have never been in a 'go around' as we call it before, then it can be surprising.  It is not a heart stopping moment for the pilots. Pilots approach every landing ready to do a 'go around' if the conditions are not optimum for landing. This includes strong winds.  It is as straight forward as this to a pilot. 'If it is not safe to land (or take off for that matter) we don't.'   The Ryanair 'go around' made the news but their well trained pilots are just doing their job - safety first always. 

This might seem hard to accept when you are sat in the back of an aircraft and you suddenly are taking off again but here's the thing. It is always safety first.  Once the pilots have cleared the runway, after a few minutes they will come onto the PA and say what has happened. It is not a drama to pilots at all.  This is just one of those things that they train for and have to practice in the simulators every six months.  Hope that helps a little?

Take care,
Paul, Richard and the flying without fear team


Sunday, 5 August 2018

Flying Without Fear Blog August 2018

Hello from a blistering hot UK! (At time of writing!)

Just wanted to say a quick hello so that you know we are still here!

True, there are no public courses listed but we are very much still doing stuff in the background.  We hope to have some news for you soon.

In the meantime, we thought we might showcase a cool little App we were introduced to. You may have heard of it already - SkyGuru.

Developed by Alex Gervash - a pilot, psychologist, and fear of flying treatment specialist. Since 2008 he has been studying and treating fear of flying. Today over 8K of his program graduates are flying happily all over the world. His extensive experience and expertise in the field is what led Alex to an idea of teaching a smartphone to act like a personal guide, explaining everything happening during flight in real-time.

From Viktorina - Co Founder and COO

"Named as one of top 10 great gifts for travellers by Forbes and one of top 10 travel tips of all time by Conde Nast Traveller, SkyGuru acts like a personal in-flight guide, providing real-time explanations of everything happening during the flight: aircraft movements, unfamiliar sounds, and even... passenger sensations! SkyGuru will also share fascinating aviation facts, refer you to unique points of interest nearby, and even recommend the best seats to enjoy a perfect sunrise or sunset and most interesting landmarks given clear sky weather analysis. The app works without internet connection or GPS signal on board. 
We use professional aviation and meteorological data before your flight that is then analysed and translated into simple human terms. Once on board and in airplane mode, your mobile device sensors are used to detect the various flight stages. Knowing where we are, what is happening, and what to expect next, SkyGuru provides a more calm, comfortable, and interesting time on board." Available on iOS and Android.

Here is a video demo of how it works..
Our thoughts...

We are promoting this App as we can see there is really good intention to help people.  That is exactly why we started the programme 21 years help people to fly without fear.

Take care,

Paul & Richard
Programme Directors

Flying without fear

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Flying Without Fear Blog July 2018

Hello and welcome to this month's blog.

We have not run courses for a while and perhaps you are wondering what is going on?!  We are working behind the scenes and there will be new dates being offered soon.    If you would like us to add you to the waiting list to be contacted as soon as new course dates/locations are released, please click here.

Thank you by email.

To: virginflyingwithoutfear
Subject: It works

Hi All. 

Just a short note to anyone who is not sure what the course can do.  A couple of years ago I decided to take the plunge having had a fear of flying for about 60 years.  The course explained everything and by the time we boarded the plane I felt amazingly relaxed.  We had a flight around the Isle of Wight from Southampton and it was fantastic. 

I realised that I had been missing out for many years opting to go
everywhere abroad by boat. Having flown to Spain and back which was a
good two hour flight to practice all we had been taught we ventured to
Australia to see family.  We went on a Virgin round the world ticket
which actually costs less than you think. We included Singapore, New
Zealand, The Cook Islands and the USA on the way there and back. I
can't thank the course organisers enough. Without their help I would
still be "grounded".  The course really works and I've never looked
back. Thanks to all concerned. To anyone hesitating its money well
spent so just do it.

Peter W

Thank you for writing in Peter.  Amazing after 60 years of having a fear of flying, it just goes to show it is never too late to tackle it!

Saw this in a twitter feed, looks great doesn't it?!  Here is the link.  In a nutshell, aircraft are getting safer, posher, plusher, safer again!

Revealed: how the amazing, luxurious interior of the world's longest aircraft will look

The Media - Shakira!

At the fear of flying course, we love the media. We have had so much fantastic publicity over the years, we are enormously grateful. However, the media for you plays a different role. There is always some story about aviation (or so it seems) going on - isn't there?!

Well, if you are a nervous flyer, you are wired to spot these stories whilst they sail by the rest of us...  Here is a typical example which does the trick...the trick of keeping the nervous nervous.  Shakira's flight emergency landing.

It seems like it was a decompression. The article does not say which type - there are different classifications.  Also, every commercial aviation business has a plan, a back up plan and another plan for this type of thing. Funnily enough, none of this is mentioned.  That is the only criticism of these sort of stories, we don't get all the details/facts so we are not able to rationalise it.  Don't you agree?

Anyway, we are still here. Feel free to use our message board for questions.  We also have various helpful clips on our YouTube channel 'Virginflyingwithoutfear'   Plus, of course, there is our book, 'Flying without fear 101 fear of flying questions answered.'   On Amazon.

Take care,

Virgin Flying Without Fear Team


Monday, 25 June 2018

Flying Without Fear Blog June 2018

Welcome to the flying without fear blog for nervous and ex nervous flyers!

This blog, thought we might pick up on a few themes that seem to be appearing in emails we have received this week.




We have received a few emails about engines and how good or safe are they?  This is an area we cover really well on our courses because we like engines.  Aircraft don't need engines to fly, that is what the wings do.  However, engines get us off the ground and give us the power to point towards where you want to go.    A little simplistic but broadly true.

What a lot of people don't realise about engines is how much testing they are put through.  It is truly astonishing.  The way that commercial aviation deals with any parts on an aircraft bears true here for engines too.  If your car service schedule said widget A was due replacing at 12, 000 miles due to being less effective, your garage would do that.  In commercial aviation, if we knew widget A was due to stop working, or just not be as effective at 12,000 miles we would probably change it anyway about 4,000 miles!  We have massive safety capacity in commercial aviation - we call this redundancy.

Here is a link to a clip to show you some of the tests that engines go through - you should find this reassuring.

Thank you email & our comments below

From: vunv@<removed>
Sent: 7 June 2018 6:21 p.m.
Subject: Re: recent Flying Without Fear Course

Hi, I recently went on the Flying Without Fear Course at Gatwick which I must admit I did try to cancel and not attend as even the thought of the course made me nervous. 

I've just returned from my first flight to Spain since the course and can honestly say what a difference it's made.  I boarded the plane and sat happily through the take off and landings. Previously I would have clung onto the seat, checked the lifejacket was where it should be, not look out of the window and sit through the rest of the flight hardly speaking until we touched down.  The night before the flight I didn't feel that worried normally I would find it hard to concentrate and be really stressed knowing I've got to fly. 

On this flight, which was just under 3 hours, I was relaxed and didn't feel as scared or nervous as previously. I did think that at some point the nerves would kick in and I'd be terrified but nothing happened.  Although I'm still a little nervous, I'm no where near as bad as I was.  My friend could hardly believe it as I've flown with her before and she knows how scared I am.  

Just thought I'd let you know as I'm sure you'd appreciate the feedback. 

Kind regards


Our thoughts...
We are really grateful for Valerie's email.   It is both positive and honest.  Valerie spoke about something that she used to do which was 'checking the lifejacket, not looked out of window and sit through the rest not speaking...'

Nothing wrong with checking there is a lifejacket. That is sensible.  However, this was also wrapped up in lots of other patterns and rituals that it is easy to get into a habit of doing.  This is quite normal for nervous people.  A lot of people that have fears and one of the ways that they feel safe is to follow certain rituals and rules. These can get out of hand unfortunately.  It is worth considering, 'Is that pattern of behaviour I am currently using helpful for me to get rid of the fear or, is it helping to maintain the fear?'

Valerie nearly cancelled her place on the course and this is a normal thing nervous flyers sometimes do. After plucking up the courage to book a course, they book one. Then, they spend weeks and months dreading the decision. Quite normal and that is why it takes so much guts to show up like she (and everyone else) did.

Another part of Valerie's letter I really liked was the admittance of this ' I did think that at some point the nerves would kick in and I'd be terrified but nothing happened..'   This is really common when people change a habit or behaviour. They can spend ages almost testing it out or even being angry with themselves.  'Why aren't I nervous now?'  'When will I get nervous?'  'I can't believe it has gone!' 

Enjoy it I say. Once you learn something new and practice it, behaviours and thoughts change.

Message board comments - Southampton 24th June 2018

Here is one of a few messages on our forum from Sunday's course at Southampton.  This one made me laugh.  Well done to all those brave people that joined us for a great course.

'Well I spent nigh on 20 years crapping myself about flying. I was also a massive sceptic about courses like this. However having a girlfriend who inspires me and provided me with a massive surprise ‘the course’ I attended and was immediately comforted that firstly my fear of flying was also shared with so many different people.

The guys at Virgin who organise, and run the course were, in two words ‘bloody marvellous’. Warm, funny, sympathetic and realists who collectively convinced me that my fears, shared by may people are simply perceptions of what could go wrong, overcoming these fears was relatively simple in the session I simply replaced the negatives with facts or positives as they’re known. I also took note of breathing techniques, not difficult at all really, still crapped myself when we’re roared down the runway and lifted (loads of turbulence) but I persisted with my new tools ‘positive thoughts and controlled breathing’ and I managed to stay totally relaxed.

IT REALLY WORKED, so a great big THANK YOU to my wonderful girlfriend Jacklyn, and all the Virgin Atlantic team, and Matthew my farmer pal from Kent, well done to him too and all the attendees.'

Carpe Diem

Sometimes life can throw little surprises at us.  In the last four weeks, I have lost two friends of similar age to me.  Bit of a shocker.  This puts into comparison other things going on in one's life which can seem hard to deal with. 

The bottom line is this. Tomorrow is promised to no-one and this course was set up to help people to beat their fears!  That's it.  Of course, we would love you all to just fly Virgin forever more!  However, we actually just want to enable people to be free of this toxic fear that limits our life choices.  Not being able to fly is not the end of the world but it is big deal if it stops you doing what you want... Don't you agree?  None of us can afford to back down from scary things as they truly limit our lives.  You were not born with the fear, it is learned and it is never too later to learn something new.  Good luck :)

Paul Tizzard
Creator and Founder of the original Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear Programme

Friday, 25 May 2018

Flying Without Fear Blog 25th May 2018

Greetings and welcome to the May 2018 Blog.

Today is the cut off day for the new GDPR to be in place.  You will no doubt have been bombarded with emails from every company you have ever come across!  Our privacy policy was pretty robust but nonetheless, we have updated a few things to help protect your data and the link is below.  As a reminder, this blog (if you receive automatically by email) can be unsubscribed at a click of a button below...but we hope you don't of course.
New privacy policy here

Thanks on message board - with a difference!
I woke at four that Sunday morning

And thought, "All I have to do is switch off the alarm -
Nobody will miss me."
But then I knew yet again I had been beat.
So I got the car airport-bound trundling
Wondering if I would come to what harm
Why don't I turn back - nobody will miss me -
But no, new acquaintances I could meet.

I was so glad I did not listen to my thoughts
I met some incredible folk
Other people in the same boat as I
Helped along by a fantastic team.
Paul, Conway, Gary, Jo and all the others brought
Such peace of mind through shared info
That many times we laughed rather than cry
And frowns gave way to a beam.

It isn't just relaxation techniques shared
It was all the information given
It was all the support, and care
And compassion and friendship
That each one of us received beyond compare
In a friendly and thoughtful way driven
We asked lots of questions, and their
Answers were very complete and deep.

It came time to go to the flight
And we used the information that day
One or two of us, myself included, said
Maybe we will see how we feel at the door
A little while later, to our total delight
We were sat in our seats, ready to away
How much we realised had been given to our heads
Equipping us for our flight tour.

I should imagine I can say for us all
It would have been difficult without the Coaching Team
So to Richard, Paul, Karen and our dear Jo
And all the other team, whose names I do not know
To the FlyBe and airport staff and all
A huge huge thank you
I could not have done it without you
I could not have managed to get on the plane without you

You have and are fantastic
The course is spot on
And just a huge huge thank you again and again
And again and again, you are all very mega.

From us:
Thank you so much for taking the time to write your thanks in such a novel way.

Words Matter

Over the years, we have noticed that anxious people literally pick up on every word that is mentioned during our course.  This is the watchful nature of the brain looking out for signs of danger.  We know this and take great care to use correct language that answer your questions without making the situation worse in your heads.  For example, words we use everyday mean different things in aviation.  

Redundancy normally means loss of job
Redundancy to us means having spare capacity and back up systems

Stalling means your engine stopping in your car.  Aircraft engines don't stall.

Despite knowing this, on one recent courses, we noticed that we used the following words all in one day... We are not helping ourselves or are we being over sensitive?

Pilot during his introduction to the course:
'Today, ladies and gentlemen, I am going to give you a crash course on how safe flying is!'

Same pilot later on:
'We are about to go for a break, any burning questions?!'

From one of the founders:
'We are going to go to the terminal (the end!) for our flight - see you on the other side...sorry I meant the departure lounge (for the dearly departed)'

Courses are getting full quicker

Thank you to all those people that joined us over the last two full courses.  They do seem to fill up very quickly these days. We are so grateful for all of you that have trusted us to hep them beat their fears.  We are working on new dates.

Birmingham coming up early June and then a welcome return to Southampton at the end of June.

Take care,

Paul & Richard
Flying Without Fear Team

Our Book:
flying without fear - 101 fear of flying questions answered (Amazon)

3rd June 2018 (full)

24th June 2018

Friday, 27 April 2018

Flying Without Fear Blog April 2018

Welcome to the April flying without fear blog for nervous flyers past and present!

This month, we have been mega busy with two sold out fear of flying courses in Birmingham and Manchester.  Some of the feedback is below to show you that these amazing people are just like you.

Birmingham 22nd April Thank You!

"I had a great day today, although in part,  some of it was emotional! The Team are amazing. Each one has something unique to offer.  From the start  and up to the end, everyone was very friendly and caring. I wasn't made to feel silly for feeling scared.  Everything was put into perspective and answered honestly.

We had very experienced Team Leaders, all of whom have flown all over the world in many different aircraft for many hours.  My special thanks goes to Captain Dave.
It was an very informative morning, he spoke about the physics and mechanics of the aircraft, and why the plane does what it does and what travelling by air is really all about.

Being amongst the clouds on this beautiful day was something that I could never of

imagined. The last time I flew was nearly 9 years ago. With the help from all of the Virgin Team and my fellow fear beaters, (all of whom had many varied reasons for doing this and why it was so important) we took our seats. I will never forget it, and I have the certificate and boarding card to remind me, that I have nothing to worry about.  I'm really looking forward to visiting Venice this September. Thank you everyone,  it's been fantastic.

Please do this, it really is the safest mode of transport, and although you may still feel slightly uncomfortable, it is totally safe.  Even the take off, which I dreaded. 

Today was the just the best because  "I did it", and so can you."

You can see more of these comments on our 'Message Board.'

Where do you fly on your courses?

A lot of people ask us this before they decide whether to book. Sometimes, the unspoken question can be, 'How long do I have to put up with the near death experience?!' Others take a different view and they are asking to make sure it is long enough to get a realistic experience of a typical flight - not like a fifteen minute flight for example. 

Typically, a flight lasts between 30 - 45 minutes but can be longer on occasions.  Here is the flight path from our last course at Birmingham.   Thanks to Chris Rolinson, Team Leader and former nervous flyer.

By the way, in case you are wondering...

We did land, it is just below a certain altitude, the app Chris was using doesn't show landing. 

Things people say...

At the beginning of every course, we ask our delegates, 'What are your questions or what do you need to get from our course?

One comment caught our eye. 

'I am scared of the noises on-board the aircraft but not half as scared as no noises!'

Something we hear a lot of people say before flying...
'Have a safe flight.' 

You have probably heard people say this sort of thing all of the time?!  We know how safe flying is so from our point of view, there is no other kind of flight!  Despite what you might hear and might believe, commercial flying is incredibly safe.

Southwest Airlines flight 1380

We have received quite a few questions about the terrible incident last week with the Southwest Airlines flight.  It was a  tragedy and nothing we can say will make it go away. 

However, flying has got so safe that this is something none of us hear at flying without fear could have imagined happening.  The Daily Mail reported that there has not been a fatality on a domestic flight since 2009!  Compare that with the world's road where, according to the institute of advanced motorists, 3,500 are killed every day.   Not trying to make light of the incident at all - it is just important to keep a sense of perspective.  Flying is not 100% safe. Living is not 100% safe either. However, with all the regulations, training, checking, regulations, back up systems and no blame safety culture ...commercial flying is not far off 100% safe. In fact, if you want to live longer, you should fly more.  

The investigation will be carried out thoroughly and the results will be published publicly. In the meantime, as the investigators work out what happened to prevent a re-occurrence, every airline that flies that type of aircraft and uses that engine type will be doing extra checks. That is just the way we operate. Safety first. Always.  

Take care

Paul and Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear

Future Courses

29th April 2018 - FULL

3rd June 2018

24th June 2018