Thursday, 3 October 2013

Beating a fear of flying takes some effort

We saw this article today on about.com which tells of how one person beat their own fear of flying.  The full article is below for you to read.  We liked this approach. She didn't even come on one of our courses! 

It goes to show that beating a fear is a process.  Getting the fear takes a bit of work and effort so why shouldn't it take some time to get rid of it again?

Some of you reading this will be saying, 'That's not true! I got my fear suddenly one day after a bad flight.' (for example)

This might seem the case. However, what happened next is the maintaining the fear which takes effort.  Often, when we ask the people that say this, they will admit that they never really 'loved' flying anyway. Or, they have always had a dislike of lifts, or other forms of transport...Or there was some stress going on at work or something like that.

Anyway, we are big believers in the idea that beating a fear is a process.  We think that our course is a great part of that process but work needs to be done before and after the course to keep the fear at bay.

Here is the article:

It wasn't until I started travelling long-term that I developed a fear of flying. I had previously assumed that the more flights I took, the more comfortable I'd be in the air. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case.

Since leaving England in 2011, I've taken over 50 flights as I've made my way around the world. The first 40 of these flights were extremely traumatising.
With nowhere to run to, I'd find myself pinned to my chair, teeth clenched, soaked in sweat and trying desperately not to cry. I'd have panic attack after panic attack, taking double the recommended amount of motion sickness pills in the hope that they'd knock me out. I'd clutch at the unknown passenger unfortunate enough to be seated beside me, whimpering about how scared I was. I'd watch videos on my laptop, blast music through my headphones -- anything to distract myself from my (so I thought) impending doom.
It wasn't until I realised quite how stressful and draining my panic attacks were to my boyfriend as well as to me that I realised I had to make a change.

If I was going to keep travelling then I was going to have to figure out how to conquer my fear of flying.
It took me several months but I'm pleased to say that I'm now completely over my fear of flying. During the last dozen or so flights I've been cool, calm and collected. I've been able to look out of the window and hold a conversation that doesn't revolve around "what was that?! what was that noise?!" I haven't been desperately rummaging through my bag in search of a distraction while frantically trying to set eyes on a flight attendant to see if they are also frightened. I've even managed to take a couple of naps.
It wasn't an easy journey but it's definitely been worth the effort. Here's the things that have helped me.

Educating myself about flying
I was actually at the airport when I came across the book Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers, and Reflections. After a quick browse through the contents and seeing that many of my flying fears were covered in the book, I decided to buy it. I then spent the next six hours of my flight completely devouring the information.
It covered everything -- turbulence, crashes, safety and security -- and reading it while I was in the air had the effect of calming my nerves entirely. Despite already knowing how planes work (I have a degree in Physics), there was something about hearing it from a pilot that had me realising that flying actually wasn't such a big deal after all. That flight was the calmest one I'd had in years.
I carried Cockpit Confidential in my hand luggage for the next couple of months and spent every single flight devouring it until I felt comfortable enough to pack it in my backpack. To my absolute delight, I found that I was no longer gripping the armrest, clutching at passengers and crying behind my sunglasses. I was calm and relaxed and actually starting to enjoy the flying experience.
I credit Cockpit Confidential as the number one reason behind me conquering my fear of flying. I can wholeheartedly recommend purchasing it if you're terrified of flying -- it really does set your mind at ease.

I studied the numbers
I discovered a live flight map called FlightRadar24 that shows all of the current flights and the location of each plane. There were tens of thousands of planes simultaneously in the air and they weren't just dropping out of the sky. Now, just before I head to the airport I load that map on my laptop so that if ever I feel nervous on the flight, I can open it up, take another look at it and realise just how many people are in the air at this moment.

I studied the reasons behind my fear
A lot of the reasoning behind why I was so frightened of flying was because I was putting my life in someone else's hands and there was absolutely nothing I'd be able to do if anything terrible was to happen. I was completely and utterly out of control and that terrified me.
Now, whenever I enter a plane I realise that there is absolutely nothing I can do so I might as well enjoy the journey because I can't change a thing. Once you give up that overwhelming desire to be in control and learn to trust pilots, you find yourself a whole lot more relaxed.

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Pretty good article - don't you think?

Take care,

Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear

Future Course Dates



Birmingham 20th October 2013
Manchester 10th November 2013
Gatwick 17th November 2013 (adult course and children’s course run at same venue in different rooms)
Southampton 1st December 2013
London Luton 19th January 2014

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