Thursday, 19 July 2012

What aircraft type do you use?

This is a question that comes up every week from people enquiring about the course. 

We encourage potential clients to ask anything that they want to before attending our course.  This question is quite a curious one though.

First of all, we always answer happily straight away: 'We use commercial jets just as you would take for domestic or European destinations. Typically, our aircraft seat between 130-280 people depending on location.'

The next question we get asked sometimes is this: 'Do you use Virgin aircraft?'

Our answer is this: 'We use the right size aircraft that is fit for purpose. Currently, the Virgin aircraft are just too darn big for us!  They are, after all, a long haul carrier predominantly.'

So far, do these seem reasonable questions? Yes they are. However, there is a hidden demon within these questions...
As a one off special, we are trialling a refresher course rate at Luton on the 26th August. The whole day for £100 + VAT including refreshments and flight. Some people contact us almost embarrassed that they have flown happily for a few years after the course but have started to have ‘dark thoughts’ all over again. There is no shame in this. We see beating a fear of flying as a process; a determined process to get rid of it for good. There may be ‘blips’ along the way and this is perfectly okay. We would be delighted to see you again if you need a top up. Please call the office to book this 01423 714900.

Allow us to explain:

When  you attend our course, our sole purpose is to get you flying, get you flying again or keep you flying comfortably.  Obviously, it is great if you fly with Virgin. However, we always say this...  Anything that flies into European, UK, or parts of the developed world airspace has to meet the same international safety standards. Anything that can land into the UK has to meet the same standards as everyone else safety wise within the UK.  We just want to get you flying again!

That means Easy Jet, Virgin, BA, Ryanair, Monarch, Flybe, BMI, Thomson, Thomas Cook etc etc are all meeting the same safety standard. They will go about it differently but we are all subject to the same spot checks by CAA who can sit in on any safety training the airline conducts. It has to all meet a certain standard or else....

So what does this mean to you?

Needing to know about the aircraft type is a reasonable question if you are thinking 'I want my meal to be included in the price of the ticket...'   Or, 'I would like the baggage to be included in the price..'    Or, 'I want an actual seat number allocated and not join a rugby scrum for first come first served.'      But in terms of safety, it makes no difference.  If we set up a rule in our head, 'I will only fly Virgin or only BA and not...' due to a safety reason that we have decided is true for us - then we are in trouble.  Why?

You could be in danger of setting up a safety behaviour around flying. 'I will only fly if it is BA.'  'I will only fly during daylight hours because it is safer.' 'I will only fly if I can sit over the wing.'  'I will only fly if...'

These limiting beliefs need to be challenged eventually. They don't keep us any safer actually... They just make us feel safer.  Nothing wrong with this if we can see it for what it is and accept that eventually, as part of our process of getting rid of the 'fear,' we need to make plans to challenge some of these rules we are living by. 

What is the harm if they make us feel safe?

Imagine you have booked BA, as  you will only fly BA. You have booked your safest seat which is no.36F right over the wing!  Then, at the holiday destination, they have changed aircraft type and carrier. They cannot honour your over wing seat and it is first come first served... Now your safety behaviours have been taken from you.  Where does that leave you?

We want to encourage you eventually to become more flexible with yourself. Fear can make us quite fixed and rigid about the conditions with which we will fly...

As always, these blogs are meant with good intention and never to offend...

Take care

Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear

Future Dates

London Luton 26th August
London Luton 26th August Special One-Off Refresher course
Birmingham 14th October
Manchester 11th November (Both adult and kid’s course)
Gatwick 18th November (Both adult and kid’s course)
Edinburgh 25th November
Southampton 2nd December
Leeds Bradford 13th January 2013
Newcastle 3rd February 2013


  1. I just came upon your website and desired to say that I have really experienced studying your website articles. Any way I'll be signing up for your nourish and I wish you publish again soon.A fantastic demonstration. Very open and useful.You have magnificently provided your thought in this short article. Airfare Types

  2. You are right about limiting beliefs needing to be changed. Some of us have no fear of flying but have other fears that hold us back from experiencing the world.