When people come on our course, there is often the question, 'Does it work?'
We have answered this as well as we can over the years. The short answer is YES. Not only does it work for the vast majority of people that attend, it tends to stick too. Not 100% of people experience this massive shift quickly. For most people, the course works best when it is combined with other things. When the course is treated as part of a process of beating the fear.
When it does help people, it is enormously rewarding for us but more importantly, it gives people choices of how they travel. Please see a couple of lovely emails we have received this week:
Dear Virgin Fear of Flying Team
I am writing to you to say a massive thank you for changing my life in ways I could not imagine possible.
This letter has been a long time coming but, as we have already passed the 10th Anniversary of my attendance at the course and are approaching my upcoming flight to and from Orlando on Virgin Atlantic it appears to be the right time to contact you and let you know 'what difference a day makes.'
Prior to my attendance on the course on 23 April 2006, I was afraid to fly. I was stuck in an abusive relationship with someone who like to control where I went and what I did and it appeared that would be my future from the age of 25 onwards.
My parents however had other ideas and for my 25th Birthday they discussed with me the option of doing your Flying without Fear course and I agreed to attend. On my birthday I received a letter saying that I was booked on the course on 23 April 2006 at Manchester Airport.
I attended the course with low expectations, as you do not believe that fears can be conquered or at least tamed in such a short time period. However, it is nice to be proved wrong from time to time. I recall each part of the day in great details, the introduction, the Captains JJ and Dom, David and my team leader Paul. Even now, when I take off on a flight I can hear Paul's advice to 'drop your shoulders and relax'!
When you leave the course on the day, you know that something in your life has shifted but at the time it is hard to quantify. For me, it was enabling me to find confidence – not only to fly and visit beautiful places around the world which I thought would not be possibly but also to change your life.
I recall going back to work and booking my first trip away – with my mum to Vienna. A postcard was sent to the FWF team and all was well. I recall we had contacted Special Assistance and the cabin crew who had been assigned to look after me said that it appeared I had no issues at all and was a lot more calm and relaxed than many other frequent flyers.
However, the biggest change which came from your course related to my personal life. I remember one of my colleagues asking 'What exactly did they do to you on that course? You are a different person, more positive and ready to face challenges'. Having opened up a new world to me, I wanted to try more experiences and booked a holiday with a friend to Berlin – this friend is now my husband. It gave me the confidence to leave my former partner and be with someone to explore the world and try new things – so much so we visited Europe three times in a nine month period when we first got together.
Your course meant that I could fly and, following a flight to Vienna my then boyfriend was able to propose to me in front of my favourite painting in my favourite city; it meant we could fly to the states and drive down the Pacific Coast Highway for our honeymoon.
So here we are, ten years later and I am treating my husband (in anticipation of this 40th Birthday next year) to a once in a lifetime trip with my favourite airline to go to Orlando to celebrate his favourite time of year – Halloween. As it is a special celebration ( I will be celebrating my 10 year Virgin anniversary too but don't tell him that!) , I have even splashed out to fly Upper Class on the way out, sadly it was out of my price range to do so on the return flight.
We flew with Virgin in Premium Economy in 2014 and it was a wonderful experience – the staff were kind, courteous and always helpful so it makes perfect sense that for our special trip we would choose them again.
Without your help, this would not be happening and I am sure that my life would have taken a very different path had it not been for that spring day at Manchester Airport in 2006. I will be eternally grateful for the way in which your team have changed my life for the better.
So, all I can say is thank you Virgin. I will continue to sing your praises for the next ten years and beyond. You are the greatest and I will be forever in your debt for opening up the world to me and my family.
Hi I did my course April 13 2014 and I'm currently flying to Norway thanks to all your help . I flew to Iceland September 2014 as well which was great. Attached is a photo from the plane.
Cheers. Sonja M
Paul & Richard
PREMIUM: Gatwick Nov 6th; Manchester Nov 13th; Heathrow Dec 4th; Leeds Feb 5th; (Birmingham & Southampton TBC)
CHILDREN: Gatwick Nov 6th; Heathrow Dec 4th.