Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Feedback from Southampton

We have just finished the Southampton course which went really well... Here is some of the feedback below - thank you.

Southampton 23rd June 2013

The last time I flew was around 3 years ago, through Virgin and both the trip over and trip back were a nightmare for my family. Both times i considered trying to get off the plane and even had to be held back by my brother in law (the plane was taxing at the time)... I was an emotional wreck, even with pills and wine (not a great combination). On the return flight I even had to talk to the co-pilot to calm me down (it worked till he had to get back to flying the plane!).  The car journey to this course bought back the same feelings, knowing that at some point I would have to make a choice to get on a plane or not.
The course is very well structured, it builds slowly and has different areas from Virgin speaking and taking questions as they talk. This includes pilots and cabin crew, these people who actually do this day in and day out and treat a plane ride like a trip in a car.
There are some good messages, that you have to want to change, you have to make a decision to not travel along a motorway of fearful thoughts (the easy option), but to take a turning down, what might be a bumpy off road track and then change the way your mind is thinking and yes change the habit of a lifetime - and this route is worth it.
It is amazing that you sit with a group on a table and you start with everyone being a bit shy and head down, to talking through your own issues and actually understanding that you are not alone, that other people have the same problems.
What I found amazing is I got to the airport and I was trying to be worried, anxious, but it didn't seem to bet there anymore.
When I was on the plane, I could feel myself getting nervous, but, the co-founder - Richard asked if I wanted to sit next to him, so I swapped seats (I think everyone probably thought I was doing a runner off plane at the time - and apologies to the lady I was sat next to at the time....!!).   The weird thing was, the take-off actually excited me and the flight over the Solent was great, I have a fear of heights and yet, as Richard advised, its not the same feeling as being up a ladder, so I spent the whole time looking out of the window and even making a video of it.  Its learning to control the irrational fear and thinking, and thinking - hang on, maybe this is OK, maybe some turbulence is OK, as these planes are built to cope with stuff like that. Maybe this is chilled, that I can cope, maybe I don't need panic.  I cannot recommend this course enough, I really wished I could do it again, just for the flight at the end, to go through that feeling. I cannot thank Richard enough and also our team leader David. Both of which coached throughout the whole day and made me feel like I wasn't a complete idiot, even when I asked why some people had to move to the back of the plane for take off (balance - and yes the pilots actually know what they are doing - amazing!).
My only regret is I couldn't thank the people on my table, as I had to take a later bus back to the hotel after the flight - I am sorry, terrible with names, I think Amanda was one of them, and the young lady who messaged on this board, who couldn't stop dancing with nervous energy - Its great to hope that I actually helped you at the time. Also two guy on the table, one from Cornwall and one from the New Forest - Both of your helped me when we were at the airport and everyone single one of you was incredibly supportive and was great to talk even though we had our own versions of anxiety.
The Fear of Flying Team - THANK YOU. Its amazing that the cabin crew and pilots do this as volunteers.
I have another holiday booked with Virgin at the end of August, Orlando again... Richard - the memory I have of the flight and what you talked me through and the tools that I have learned is what I will be taking with me on this flight.
Please -if you have any phobia at all about flying, take this course, book it and look forward to it... know that the amazing people around you will help you and coach you though every step of the day.
What a journey - the most dangerous bit of the whole day was me nearly missing the turning to the hotel in my car (apologies if you were behind me at the time...)


What a great day ! :D It was so informative, fun and very very sociable.....Everyone was so friendly, and I was put at ease the minute I arrived at the hotel.
The team were excellent with their information, my family are so impressed with my knowledge of planes now and very bored , I think :lol:
I met lots of lovely people, especially Michael who was our team leader, and looked after us intently..
As I had never flown before, I was probably more excited than most :) I did the course because I am prone to panic attacks, and claustrophobia...
Having booked a flight to Adelaide in August I knew that I couldn't go on a long flight without doing this course.
I got on the plane and didn't feel at all panicky as I thought I would.. I even enjoyed looking out of the window, which I never thought I would do in a million years....
It was a shame that I had to rush off the plane at the end to catch the last ferry back to the Isle of Wight !
A very long day, but very worthwhile :D
Take care
Paul & Richard

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