Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Flying Without Fear Blog January 2018

Hello and welcome to first proper blog 2018.

We really hope that you were able to take a decent break over the festive period?  We have come back to work mad busy with some exciting news coverage and four courses to run before the end of April.  Did you know that our prices have not changed for over 5 years!

Virgin Atlantic totally believe in this course...
L-R: Paul Tizzard, Sir Richard Branson
& Richard Conway 2003

Did you see all of the coverage in the national newspapers and hear it on the radio?  On January 9th, Virgin offered anyone with a fear of flying to book a flight with them and they would get a free fear of flying place with us.  The guarantee that they made was this, 'If you book a flight, attend the course for free and you are not cured then Virgin will refund your flight cost!'  That is how strongly everyone at Virgin Atlantic believes in what we offer.  Here is a link to one of the articles.

Inspirational Thanks by Email
To: info@flyingwithoutfear.info
Subject: Fear of flying 99% conquered

Dear Richard and Paul,

Firstly, apologies for contacting you directly (me and forums don't go together!). I'm sure you remember me but wanted to share this with you and maybe give inspiration to others who were like me. If you think this is okay to post on the forums, please could you post it for me and cut it to a bit smaller/take things out if you think you have to. I am writing this after just returning from my 2nd holiday within 6 weeks and finally I know that I have conquered my fear of flying. 

My journey started way back in 2004 when 3 months before my holiday to Florida, I was a complete emotional wreck. In the end I was hospitalised, on medication and, at one stage, told my wife and 2 daughters to go without me. It was then I stumbled across the Virgin Atlantic Fear of Flying programme, run by Richard and Paul. Richard invited me to the course which was 4 days before I was due to fly. I attended, all dosed up with tablets and I must admit, looking back, the day was a blur, but I did the course and flight, remembered how proud I was thinking, yeah this is easy but all the fears came flooding back the next day and I was like that the whole holiday.

I took the bold step of booking another one when I got home. My understanding being that, since I was dosed up on mediation, I couldn't really take in the material I was given . This time ,not on any medication, I made a mental note of listening to everything presented to me. Sure, I was nervous on the day but, when I climbed the steps to board, I felt calm and still vividly remember speaking to a gentleman on the course who was upset and offered to sit next to me, saying we can do this together. Which we both did. Great, I thought, fear conquered. Or so I thought.

I booked another 3 centre trip to America (2 internal flights involved), then the fears all came back 3 months before. It got so bad that I made some lies up, telling my wife that the schools wouldn't let us take the kids out for the week before the schools holidays broke up. I promised her that we would pre book, which I did, telling myself that I have a year to sort myself out. Even let my parents book as I was confident that "next time, I will be ok". It's amazing how quickly the year went and I'm afraid that I did exactly the same thing, lied again about schools and promised wife and kids that we would for next year but definitely in school holidays so there would be no problems. Now the pressure was on and I took the bold steps to contact Richard, saying that I was a failure and can I re-book for 2007. Richard said that I was 100% not a failure, never to think like that welcomed me on the course. I even took my wife this time to prove to her that I could do this.

The day went really well and, even my wife said how calm I was. Though (thinking back 10 years ago), I do recall it was very windy and that did freak me out a bit but, thankfully it had calmed down and was a smooth flight. Looking back now, I wished it had been windy and turbulent as, being in that environment first hand, it would of shown me that it is safe. Thinking again, I had cracked it, the holiday soon started to get closer and closer and, yet again, the fears all came flooding back. I did go on this holiday but just couldn't get the fears and thoughts out of my head. The weird thing about all this is, when I landed at Gatwick on my return, I would look back and think to myself, Yeah I did really well, I was calm on the plane and enjoyed it. Thinking these positive thoughts, I booked another holiday for 2009. But again I was a nervous wreck before the holiday, nervous about 4 days before I returned but again I would look back and say "Yeah I did really well, I was calm on the plane and enjoyed it".

This circle carried on for 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. In between this, I did another course (think Richard and Paul were getting fed up with me!) in 2012 but, again, even though I was calm on the plane, enjoyed it, I just couldn't get the crisis thoughts out of my head and controlling the nerves.2015 was a turning point in my fears. Having just returned from Florida, we were due to fly to Crete 4 days later and, yep, I cancelled it, telling my wife it was my illness and not my fear of flying. When you Flight and not Fight, you get are overcome with relief, this lasts for a few hours, then you are overcome with guilt. I felt so low for a few days and then I said to myself, enough is enough.

I rang Richard (must be fed up with me by now!) as I always remember someone saying to me, when you give in to your fears, you have lost. I didn't want that, so in April 2016 I booked a surprise holiday for my wife to Antigua and booked myself on another course for April. I travelled to Birmingham from Kent, did the course and flight, loved every minute of it and finally, I knew we were getting somewhere. I was nervous for Antigua, but only the day before I went and a few days before I came home. I have since travelled to St. Lucia, Malaga, Palma and have just got back from Antigua. What has also helped me was that I got to fly a 737 in a simulator for an hour which showed me that (even though it was simulator) the instructor pretended it was real. We went through all the check list, showed me tall the back up systems etc. so when I flew as a passenger, I ran through all that I remembered and, to my surprise it really helped and calmed me. Also, my daughter is cabin crew for British Airways, flies all the time and she just says "its just a job". If flying was dangerous, how irresponsible a parent would I be if I let her continue in her role.

My moral to my long story is this: I remember (after my first couple of courses) reading people's messages to Richard and Paul, saying they were cured after one course and thinking "why am I not like that", "what's wrong with me", "I'm not normal". Taking a good look at myself, I ignored these comments and FINALLY realised, we are all individuals, not robots. What might take someone 1 course, can take someone 2/3/4 courses. We all put pressure on ourselves to be "normal" and be like our parents/brothers/sisters/friends etc.

If it doesn't work 1st time, don't give up, keep on trying as, what I thought would never happen, I now love flying. Yes, I still get nervous, but I now say to myself it is excited nerves as I no longer get them dreaded negative thoughts in my head "what if this happens, that happens etc. "If this is posted on the message board, please don't read the first part as a negative but concentrate on the ending which is POSITIVE. Remember we are all individually different and if it didn't work for you the 1st or 2nd time, don't give up. It will work. And I think Richard and Paul will agree, I am certainly living proof of this.

I have already booked Orlando, Turkey and Jamaica next year and can't wait!!I wish everyone a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year and happy flying.

PS I would like to say a massive THANKYOU to Richard and Paul for their understanding, patience and help over the last 14 years, without you my new life would not have been possible. I may or may not come back for a refresher but, if I do, I know you won't judge or think "AGAIN", but, what I do know is that you would welcome be back with open arms. I wouldn't see this as a failure but just to refresh the brain.

Thank you again,


Comment:  We think Trevor is amazing and especially as he never gave up. He literally came on our first course sedated with a companion to help him walk.  His fear was enormous. We firmly believe here that if you don't give up and if you treat our course as part of a process, you will beat it.
Future Courses

4th February 2018

 4th March 2018

22nd April 2018

29th April 2018


Best wishes,

Paul & Richard

Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear
Our Book:
flying without fear - 101 fear of flying questions answered

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Flying Without Fear Places for Free

Today, Virgin Atlantic released a deal to offer people a free course with us...

You need to book a flight today with Virgin to qualify for the deal.  Here is a link below

Link .



Thursday, 21 December 2017

Flying Without Fear Blog 21st December 2017


We hope that you are able to take a decent break during the festivities... 

We ran two courses in November - Manchester and Gatwick.  Both were great courses and it is excellent to think of all those new people 'out there' now flying.

Message Board Thanks

Just wanted to thank everyone for a informative relaxed day.  I am 44 and have never flown. I thought I would never fly and nobody would be able to change that fact, however due to the light-hearted yet informative and perfectly constructed course, I easily did something that had been a thorn in my side for so long. I was actually excited to get on the plane and couldn't wait to get moving. Taking off was unbelievable and totally amazing. 

The constant reassurance from captain Dave, informing us of every single step and bump made it a breeze and the most enjoyable thing I have ever done. Twenty four hours prior, I would never have believed how relaxed,  yet totally excited I would be. Thanks to the team but cheers to Paul for his constant help in walking us through it step by step. Descent fella too. Honestly I can't emphasise how simple it really is. I now have an opportunity to see things I could only dream of.   Cheers everybody who made the day - yay we all did it

Thanks by email

Subject: Thank You

Good Morning,

Could you please pass this message onto Paul, Richard and Karen. And Paul and Captain Dave (table leaders from 19th November)

I attended the Course at Gatwick on the 19th of November. I had not flown in five years due to my phobia and had decided it was time to try and do something about it, driving around Europe takes a lot of time out of the holiday!

I was not convinced that a one day course could have any effect on me and was sure that I would not be getting on the plane at the end of the day (because if I got on the plane it would of course crash).

Well I did get on that plane and, acting on the advice to fly as soon as possible booked a weekend in Glasgow. I flew out Friday and returned yesterday evening. My husband was more nervous than me, although that could have been his apprehension that I would descend into hysterics as soon as we were on the plane!

I cannot thank you all enough for the course and the confidence it has given me. It sounds silly to anyone who has never been too terrified to get on a flight but I feel that this has changed my life. I am now busy planning trips to Barcelona, Greece and Las Vegas and anywhere else that takes my fancy.

Thank you once again. Emily Crabb

How safe is flying on low cost airlines?

This is not the first time that people have asked this question of us.  Here is a view on it based on my experience as a motorcyclist.

You can buy a motorcycle helmet that is deemed safe by British Standards from about £30 up to £2,000+.  They all have the kite mark to suggest that they meet the regulated safety standard - they are all in fact safe to wear. However, if you were to try a helmet at £30 and a helmet for £150, you will notice a world of difference in terms of comfort and what you get for your money. 

Commercial aviation is similar. Sure, you can sometimes get flights for £9 one way, but you would not expect world class service for that would you ?!  Safety standards are a minimum but in terms of comfort, you get what you pay for!

Interesting Blog - AirSafe

Thanks to Chris Rolinson for forwarding this article about how safe commercial flying is now.  Here is a snippet of it and the rest can be found on their great site. 

With less than two weeks to go in 2017, the world's airlines are about to reach a milestone that has not happened in over 50 years. In every year since 1960, there has been at least one passenger fatality due to an accident, sabotage, hijacking, or military action involving a jet airliner. So far in 2017, that number is zero. In fact, the last time a large jet airliner event led to passenger fatalities was in November 2016 when a chartered jet crash in Colombia killed most of the members of the Brazilian Chapecoense Football Club.AirSafe.com tracks a number of events and issues related to airline safety and security, with a particular emphasis in passenger deaths on large jet airliners and certain models of turboprop-driven aircraft that both have a capacity to carry 10 or more passengers and that have been certified to fly in the US. These categories of flights are designed to the highest standards set by the world's most influential civil aviation authorities, and also operate under the most demanding regulations in the US, Canada, western Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. In the AirSafe.com annual summaries of aviation events, fatal passenger events involving this category, these events are numbered. The Chapecoense crash was a charter flight not open to the public, so that event was not a numbered event.


Some thing to make you smile - 5 year old aviator!

Thanks to Frederiki, one of our psychotherapists, who shared this cute but smart 5 year old kid talking about flying.... 'Smart Aviator'


Future Courses

4th February 2018

4th March 2018

22nd April 2018

29th April 2018

Have a great break and see you in the New Year

Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear

Friday, 24 November 2017

Flying Without Fear Blog 24th November 2017


This month has been super busy. We ran a courses in Manchester and Gatwick, both of which went really well.  Here is some feedback...

Gatwick November 2017
My wife and I were part of a group of 120 souls with differing types of fear and phobias. At the end of the course over 97% of us walked out having flown in a plane. We wish we had done it years earlier, now being in our 60′s it has opened the world in our retirement. 

The course was professionally run in an informal atmosphere with 10 participants allocated to a team leader who were there to answer questions, and offer reassurance, Our chap was Brian who was absolutely superb having the previous day returned from a trip back from China.

The course included a talk about phobias, general duties of the cabin crew and their extensive training , and pilot Captain Dave Mabbett who went through every scenario, and answered every question, no matter how trivial it was. He was the main factor in my conquering the fear I had with flying. Although run by Virgin the  course was independently run without any marketing. The most reassuring quote of the day  (and everyone is different) made by Captain Dave about himself was the most important person on this plane  was me, because if I’m safe your safe. I would encourage anybody who does fear flying to go on the course you will not regret it everyone is different

Manchester November 2017
Dear team,
I would like to say a big thank you for an excellent course and for helping me in overcoming my fear of flying. I have not flown for 34years and in all that time I have done everything possible to avoid getting on a plane, I have been aware that sooner or later I must do something to get rid of my fear and when my wife told me about your flying without fear course I thought this will hopefully be the answer. I attended on Sunday and found that there were lots of others with the same fears and anxieties and in some way this reassured me. I found that the information and the constant reassurance you gave helped me as the day progressed.

The big test of course was the flight and I must say I was quite nervous at this stage, however after the flight I felt a great sense of achievement and I now feel more comfortable about going on a plane and look forward to going on a flight in the near future. Thanks again to you all, you are a great team.
John Scan

Why do people clap on landing?

Body language expert, Judi James claims that the practice of clapping when landing has psychological benefits. Also, she believes, it is dying out and soon will be no more. Her interesting article here  

Some of the team were discussing this very thing recently.  All of us were struggling to remember when the last time an aircraft landing had been clapped... One of the team said that on a recent flight back from Turkey,  only one row of people clap as they landed. Were they particularly impressed with the pilot skills?  Or, was it relief to still be alive?!

Not sure why the practice stopped.  If nothing else, it was nice for pilots to hear someone applaud their work.  It takes skill to softly land an aircraft.  Nowadays, behind the bolted Kevlar doors, the pilots have very little contact with passengers.  Maybe, we should all bring back the clapping to appreciate these skilled professionals?


Why don't you pack parachutes instead of life jackets on board?

This is a question that is in our book.  This question actually comes up quite a bit.  Some example answers:
  1. Unless you have been trained to jump out of aircraft, can you imagine how long and detailed the safety demo would be to use them?
  2. Would you really jump out of an aircraft and just land anywhere?!
  3. The safest place to be is on the aircraft with professionals trained to fly it.
  4. There are so many back ups and extra capacity built into commercial aviation, you are much safer with us than any other form of transport.


Future Course Dates:

4th February 2018

4th March 2018

Our Book
Flying Without Fear, 101 fear of flying questions answered.  Written a few years ago now but still relevant.  Contains a year's worth of questions we get asked most courses.  Available on Amazon.

VirginFlyingWithoutFear - this channel has some helpful videos and clips for you to reinforce what you have learned from our courses.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Flying Without Fear Blog 16th October 2017


Sad News
This month has seen the sad disappearance of Monarch Airlines. An airline that we had very close ties with and many of our friends worked there.  It just goes to show how tough it is to survive in the aviation industry.  They have just completed 50 years of being in business which was amazing. 

Monarch also helped the flying without fear programme for many years by letting us charter their aircraft for our courses. The crew (ground and air) were amazing to work with and we shall miss them being around.  Some airlines get rescued and that would be an amazing thing to happen to Monarch. It is testament to how closely commercial aviation works together as we have heard, many airlines are opening their doors to the ex Monarch staff.  We wish all the amazing staff the best of luck looking for new employment.

Email Thank you

I attended this course in July at the Manchester venue. It was quite challenging to actually take that short flight at the end of the course. My Husband decided to book a weeks sun holiday for us after I'd taken the course, we returned on Friday and although I can't say I enjoyed the flights, having used the techniques learned during the course made it a lot more bearable. The water bottle really helped my anxiety during the bits of turbulence, but the big achievement was the fact that I wasn't doing my meerkat impression when the Bing bongs went off. I kept my little folder with me and read the explanations during take off and landing, again very reassuring. My big test will be an upcoming trip to Hong Kong , so fingers crossed and thank you, this course was definitely worth the investment and has allowed me to regain some control over my fear. I would definitely recommend it to anyone fearful of flying. Marie
Fear - depends how you look at it

Most of us as humans don't like the feelings that fear creates within us.  We, flying without fear, don't necessarily believe that fear is a bad thing actually.

Granted, it can be horrible when it is out of control or when the fear stops you doing other things within your life.  But, fear also keeps you alive by keeping you alert. 

Fear is also something that you can sell.  Paul's daughters (Paul Co Founder) were talking about Tulley's Farm in Sussex (Near Gatwick) as they hold Halloween Fright Nights every year.  Apparently, this year is 'Just brilliant 'cos it is REALLY, REALLY scary!'  So, a little cliché perhaps but fear does not mean the same thing to everyone?

Thank yous - posted on the message board

I did it. I just came back from three weeks in Japan and it was amazing.

I was feeling confident, but my subconscious gave me two weeks of plane related nightmares before departure. For unwanted reasons (a trip to the A&E at 10pm the night before our flight), I didn't get enough sleep on the night before. But on that day, I was still feeling strong. The warm-up was a short and smooth flight to Paris to catch the plane to Japan. That flight went great, and we had more than enough time in Paris to catch the next flight. When I was waiting in Paris, I was excited when I saw the big plane I would take in a few minutes. Then we went inside the plane. We were sitting in a row of 3 seats and luckily, there was nobody on the 3rd seat. The plane took off, we quickly got a drink (no alcohol) and the first meal was served. After about an hour or two, while I was waiting to go to the toilet, I started talking with one of the flight attendants. At some point during the conversation, I said it was my first long-haul flight, and told her about the Virgin Atlantic course and how incredible it was for me to be on this plane. She congratulated me and we had a nice chat about how I felt. During the flight, she came to my seat two or three times just to make sure I was feeling great, and this felt amazing. At the end of the flight, she even gave us some gifts to celebrate this first very long flight. I almost cried when I went out of the plane and realized I was in Japan.

I didn't have nightmares before the flight back to the UK. My subconscious must have realized everything went great. We had to change our flight because of bad weather in Amsterdam, but I didn't see a sign or anything else like that, and in the end, the flight we were supposed to take was cancelled. It was an even bigger plane than the first one, but we had seats in the back. I knew there might be a chance there would be more noise, or that I would feel the plane move more, but it was ok. Once again, I talked with a flight attendant at some point, and in the conversation I told him about the course, how I felt, etc. And once again, he came to check on me at some point and made sure I was feeling good. It was a day flight, and I didn't have the impression I spent almost 11 hours in a plane. I watched movies, had lunch, read some books, and kept myself busy. It went by really, really fast.

The whole experience was amazing. I was very proud of myself. I went to your course looking for answers and a way to overcome this fear, and it really worked for me. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!

I've just returned from 5 weeks holiday and family visit in Bali and Australia and for the first time ever I have taken 5 flights without the usual gut wrenching stomach churning fear of old!! I have been flying for nearly 40 years living abroad in Zambia and Abu Dhabi. I am married to a travel mad husband and we have had many brilliant holidays around the world - always marred by my fear of flying. Finally after my husband arrived back from our latest trip to Cuba with his arms and hands covered in bruises as I gripped him so tightly on take off, landing , turbulence funny noises etc etc , he booked me onto one of your courses. 

I was sceptical but prepared to give it a go. I found being able to talk to like minded people liberating . We all had similar fears. The technical parts of the course helped me the most. I'm a bit of a control freak and just needed to know why and how and so the pilot talks were great . Loved the analogy of driving as in always said in a car I'm in control - now realise this is not so.

The psychological aspects were good too- I now have to ditch the idea of being afraid of flying, that person is no longer me. What will I talk about at dinner parties now when the subject comes up? Oh yes your course, of course!  I found the breathing exercises worked best for me and the mantra" turbulence is uncomfortable but not dangerous" . I arrived  at Heathrow yesterday after 14 hours from Singapore and thought yep that fear has now gone.

I'm not saying I absolutely love flying but my rational brain now registers the shear volume of air traffic and the routine safety of it rather than terrifying myself with extremely rare catastrophies.
I attended the course at Manchester on 30/7/17.

So thank you all for a brilliant course, the best present my husband has ever given me. Do you know of a similar course for losing weight? Now that would be a money spinner...

Q. Does your one day course really work?

We get asked this a lot. Here is our answer:

Yes it does.  However, it works best when combined with other things that you are doing to beat the fear.  Such as:

  • Reading books about how aircraft fly
  • Looking at Government websites that give the facts about flying
  • Practicing mindfulness or proper breathing
  • Not watching those programmes such as ' Air Crash Investigation.'
  • Not believing anything in the media when it comes to commercial aviation

If you went to a gym once, you would not expect to both gain and maintain a six pack!  Not meaning to be facetious, it is just about putting it into a helpful perspective.  Staying positive and mentally healthy takes effort just like it would to stay physically healthy.

Very best wishes,

Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear

Future Courses

Manchester 5th November

Gatwick 19th November

Kids with flight (6-12):

Gatwick 19th November

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Flying Without Fear Blog 20th September 2017


Did you see this picture in the Daily Mail Online?

Looks very scary, don't you think?

This was taken by Chris Hine in his garden in Byfleet, Surrey, UK. It shows two commercial aircraft looking dangerously close...Or so it seems. This is actually a great picture.  Between those aircraft, there needs to be 1000 feet of separation which there is.  Still, the picture looks great despite the optical illusion created by the vantage point.  Full article Link here 

This is an email from someone that joined us at Birmingham recently and flew four weeks later. The interesting thing for Jane is that she had (like a lot of people) some mixed emotions as to whether the course had 'worked' for her.  It can take a while to shake old thinking habits...


I've just returned from a holiday in Florida, I must say my family was really impressed with me on our flights, although I felt a little nervous waiting for the flights and had to do my breathing exercise and read my flying without fear book, once I was on the aircraft I felt ok and wondered if I would be able to look out the window, I was really pleased with myself that I did look out the window (I've never sat by a window before because I just couldn't look out). One of my fears was the approach to landing, well I looked out the window on the approach and landing, so I was really pleased.
My other fear was walking on the plane, this I didn't manage to do but I stood up in the aisle, I'm flying Virgin to New York in November for my granddaughters 16th birthday so maybe I'll walk on the plane on that flight.
Although it was my son Lloyd that paid for my course for him I'm glad that I feel much more comfortable about flying, I'm so glad we both felt better for doing it.

Yours sincerely
Jane Zap...


A recent Manchester course attendee:
I attended the course yesterday and hadn't flown for over 10 years. I was scared of taking off and built it up to be this horrible thing that I didn't want to ever do again. Since losing my dad last year it's sort of made me push myself to my limits and beyond and make him proud. My mum is 70 next year and wants to go to New York to celebrate so I thought I'd bite the bullet and book myself onto the course.

The course was amazing and I loved every second of it from Pilot Pete, David the cabin crew trainer and Paul the pysch-ed guy. All of it was fantastic and helped me a lot especially my team leader Mags who helped me every step of the way from getting on the bus to sitting next to me on the plane. I even got the full security package getting a massage from the staff. I can say I think I'm over my fear of flying but I'm still not keen on taking off but I'll get used to it with the more I fly.

I just want to say a big thank you to you all, Richard, Paul, Pete, David, Mags and all the other team leaders I didn't think I'd ever get on a plane again but now even though I didn't like the take off I'm excited to get on a plane again.

Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.

This is one of hundreds of thank you messages posted on our message board... Please have a look at 11 year's worth of thank you messages. 
20 Year Anniversary

The original flying without fear programme started on the 1st November 1997 with just 8 people in attendance.  Back then, we just ran ground courses to give people an experience and some helpful knowledge surrounding flying. About five years later, we then added flights to the programme.  Things change all the time. New therapists, pilots and team leaders join us, some have stayed the duration and we are extremely grateful to all of them.  Some of our team have sadly passed on.  Thank you to all of you.

Picture: 2003 launch of courses with flight.
Left to right:  Paul Tizzard, Sir Richard Branson & Richard Conway

What we offer has changed over the years too.  We now have courses with flights. Courses without flights. Courses on a 121 basis for executive and celebs. Last, but not least, we offer courses for children too.

Our dear Flying Without Fear friends that have passed on.

Left to right: Psychotherapist and voice of chocolate David Landau; Capt Norman Lees Mr Energy and part time Spitfire Pilot and Capt Pete Dunlop, probably the most relaxed and capable pilot we have ever met.

The Voice of Chocolate recordings can be accessed via a special page here.

It would be our honour to help you face your fears when you are ready.  Our next courses are below.  We also have a book out called, 'Flying Without Fear, 101 fear of flying questions answered' which is available on Amazon.

Take care,

Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear Team

Future Courses

Manchester 5th November

Gatwick 19th November

Kids with flight (6-12):

Gatwick 19th November


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Flying Without Fear Blog 08/08/17

Hello and welcome to our August Blog.

When is the best time to do your course? (FAQ)

A lot of people ask us this question.  Normally, the question ties in with this extra information:

'...I was thinking of booking your course about two weeks before my holiday.  Do you think that is enough time for me to fly comfortably?'

This, at face value, sounds like a reasonable question and maybe you have thought similarly yourself?  It is the wrong question!  Allow me to explain.

The course and flight proximity is the wrong way to look at it.  The actual best time to book our course is when you are in the right frame of mind to book onto it.  When you are saying to yourself, 'enough is enough!  I need to get my fears sorted out!!'  THAT is the best time.  Beating a fear of flying is a process that takes time. It takes a different amount of time for each person. Our course works best when part of a process of beating the fear. This can start any time rather than treating the course as a 'one stop shop.' 

Many people often have a lot of success of just coming on our course as a 'one stop shop' and doing nothing else but I am personally gobsmacked how they manage that - it seems like a heck of a lot of pressure to put on yourself?!

Start today, do something regularly towards beating the fear.  Examples -  read books on fear of flying, practice relaxation techniques, try mindfulness, stop watching programmes like Crash Investigation.  These are all things that you can start now at no cost. They all help.

Inspirational Story

Shortly, on our YouTube channel, 'Virginflyingwithoutfear' we will upload an inspirational story.  You will meet Janine and Mags.  Both have been on our courses as nervous flyers.  Janine 5 years ago, Mags 2 years ago. They are now team leaders helping other nervous flyers.  AND, Janine is even a trained pilot. Watch the clip as Janine meets Mags just before her aerobatic flight!  Amazing, well done to both of you. We truly believe anything is possible in terms of beating your fears. Never give up as these two in the clip prove.  Video link here.


I keep checking the weather before  I fly...

Nervous flyers check the weather and see it is windy and get worried. Pilots check the weather and think, 'great, it's windy. Wind = free lift' 

Nervous flyers check the weather and see it is sunny and feel relaxed. Pilots check the weather and see it is sunny and think, 'Could be thermals today which might mean a bit of turbulence.' 

By the way, pilots are never worried about weather and especially not turbulence because they know it is safe. 

The weather rules':
  • It is either safe to take off despite the weather or we don't take off till it is safe. In other words, there are strict rules around when you can take off and when you can't. Thundercloud overhead, we wait for it to pass. Rain, we can take off. Cross winds we take off if they are within our legal limits. If too much wind coming across the runway above our legal limits, we wait.  This is a simple way to look at it but that is it in a nutshell
  • The same rules apply to landing. It is safe to land or it isn't.  If it isn't, we can wait for a while. Still not great, divert to somewhere else.  Yes, we do have enough fuel to do that... it is all part of the planning before we even take off.
  • Once we get above the clouds, we are above the weather. No matter how rubbish weather is near the ground, above the clouds it is sunshine all the way.
Recent courses:
We have just run a couple of great courses at Manchester and Birmingham.  Here is a bit of feedback from both:

Manchester July 2017
Having not stepped foot on a plane for 16 years, I really didn’t think that I ever would again. I hated the entire experience on the few flights that I had been on when I was younger.
However, my husband and son wanted to go to Florida, and I decided to book the holiday, and booked my place on the FWF course the same day. I decided that I really had to do something to try and overcome my fear, but was doubtful that anything ever could.

However, I was wrong. The Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear course was fantastic. Delivered in a common sense, humorous, yet thoroughly professional way, it covered all aspects of travelling by plane. We were given breathing exercises and coping mechanisms to help us deal with our individual fears and thoughts. The technical information given by the Pilot, and the general information given by the Cabin Crew gave a practical and accurate insight into the plane and airline training procedures.

I met some really lovely people on the course, and it was very reassuring to know that everyone there was attending to try and overcome their individual and personal fears in relation to flying.
The FWF team were amazing and obviously excellent at what they individually and collectively do. A special mention to Christian, our team leader who was brilliant. Friendly, professional, reassuring, and had no problem at all with answering as many questions as you could put to him. Thank you Christian!!!

This course has changed my life in the fact that I got on the flight yesterday, and although nervous, managed to practice the breathing and coping mechanisms to help me through. I felt as if I had actually enjoyed the flight, and found it to be fine. This was a amazing considering how I used to be on flights, you wouldn’t want me sitting next to you as a passenger.

So thank you so much to the FWF team, this course will change my life, and that of my family. Enabling us to go on the family holidays by plane that I haven’t felt able to do before. I wish I had done this course years ago!
With Many Thanks & Kindest Regards,
Mrs Celeste St

Birmingham July 2017
I attended the Birmingham course on July 23rd.  I would like to add my thanks for a great course. Please thank Karen for helping me on a one to one basis and Ralph for answering my questions all about take off! I would very much like to single out for praise the facilitator for my table,  James.  He was so calm and unfailingly kind and supportive throughout the whole process.  He was fantastic at explaining and stopping catastrophising whilst we endured the two hour delay at Birmingham airport and a bumpy take off. Although I didn’t love the flight I was able to put a lot of what I had learnt into practice and feel able to get on a plane again and definitely know that something has changed in my brain and acknowledge I am at the beginning of a journey and my phobia WILL improve every time I fly! It was such a relief to take off and not be sobbing with fear!
Thank you again for all your support.

By the way, this is the route that we took on flight tracker (thanks Chris Rolinson - team leader).  It looks like we didn't land but we did, that particular app didn't track below a certain height!

I wonder how safe am I flying...

This was pointed out to us by Chris Rolinson (Chris what would we do without you?!)  It is a nice easy read on the BBC website.  Enjoy.

Live Poll at Manchester Course

As people arrived on the 30th July Manchester course, we asked them to go onto their mobiles and answer the question, 'How did you fear start?'

And the top reasons came back as below. Interesting stuff?

Take care,
Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear

Future Fear of Flying Courses

Adult Premium course with flight. 12th November 2017 Gatwick

Children course with flight. 12th November 2017 Gatwick (available to book soon)