By popular request, this is part of Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Without Fear Top Ten fears our clients used to have. (Not necessarily in YOUR order of fear)
Fear no.2 is enclosed space.
Here is the list again:
1/ Lack of Control
2/ Enclosed Spaces
7/ Engine Failure
8/ Terrorist Threat
Out The Sky
10/ Panic Attacks
Fear No.2 – Enclosed Spaces
Let us be up front here. Some say, we use a mixture of three things on our courses:
Honesty, Humour and Knowledge.
So, let's use some honesty…….Aircraft can feel like enclosed spaces to people.
More honesty…..When you get on board, they shut the door and you cannot get
out…….You cannot open the door. This is a good thing.
The moment that the door shuts, your mind can go into panic overdrive. Your
brain is attempting to protect you from what you see as a threat and you can feel
that you have to escape. Maybe similar feelings to what you may have if you
were in a lions den, with the lion in their too! To those who suffer with this, it can
be the most awful thing. You may experience sweaty palms, over breathing,
anxiety and even 'tunnel vision.'
The only way to control this aspect of your fear is to manage two things; your
breathing and your thoughts.
On our course, one of the things we practice is breathing techniques to
keep your breathing in control. Everything is linked to your breathing, if you don't
control your breathing, everything else goes crazy such as your heart, your
lungs, your thoughts etc.
We really recommend that you learn to breathe properly. To learn how to relax
why not try something like our relaxation CD. We give away our relaxation CD
and booklet, free of charge on the course, in order that you can practise you
techniques well before the flight from the comfort of your own home. The
testimonials on our site show that those who have been on one of our courses
and listened to the relaxation CD, go on to enjoy flying.
'It is not what happens to you but your interpretation of what happens to you.'
Steven Covey. This is also part of the basis of this cognitive approach. You need to become
aware of what the 'chatterbox' in your head is saying.
Compare the two following thought patterns:
1/ Chatterbox out of control. 'Oh my God, what was that noise?! It must mean
we are crashing. I am not ready to die. All the Cabin Crew look scared, it must
2/ Chatterbox in control. 'Oh my God, what was that noise?! Okay, I may not
feel comfortable but I am safe. If there was something I needed to know, the
Captain would have told me. Flying is safe. I am able to cope with whatever
happens to me.'
Which of the above is going to leave you feeling more resourceful?
So to summarise, Fear of enclosed spaces is natural. It is an enclosed space.
We suggest controlling two things to help you with this; your breathing and your
This was the part 2 of the old newsletter series. When we wrote this newsletter, we only used a handful of psychological methods. Over the years, we have added a load more to the course as simply focussing on deep breathing is never enough. We use a mixture of NLP, CBT, REBT, TFT and TLC. If you want to know what all that lot means, come and join us!
Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear Programme