Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Fear of flying November 2016

Be careful who you talk to!

We have a saying on our courses which goes something like this, 'The most important person you ever talk to is yourself.'  We all talk to ourselves.  Anxious flyers also talk to themselves and what they say tends to fall into a category many call 'negative automatic thoughts.'  Normally, thoughts of doom.

Dr Russ Harris said in one of his books, 'our cautious ancestors lived longer'... 

So, rather than thinking to yourself, 'I MUST control or stop these negative automatic thoughts!'  Why not take Dr Russ Harris approach and learn to accept them for what they are.  Just thoughts, not facts. Thoughts that have kept humans alive for a long time by worrying about stuff.

As humans, we take a daily view on whether things are life threatening or not. Most things during our day are picked up by our watchful brain, but then dismissed before we have even consciously considered them. 

Why is flying different then?  Why does flying get special attention?

Our theory is that fear of flying is learned.  It is learned and practised until it becomes automatic.  We then give ourselves a really hard time by saying, 'I am so stupid having this fear. I am selfish having this fear...' 

Here is a simple way to look at this.
  • Fear has a purpose  and being cautious about things we don't understand has an evolutionary/survival role
  • Fear of flying is not something that we are born with - it is learned
  • Unlike other things we could worry about, the anxious flyer focusses on 'flying means dying.' They then practice this by thinking bad things about flying all the time. This causes a strong association in their brain so it gets easier and easier to get more scared with less and less effort
  • It is never too late to learn something new (See Peter's message below)
Messages from humans just like you!

I attended the Flying Without Fear course in Manchester yesterday and I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to all the team who were there to assist everybody with their fear of flight. I am very happy to say to anyone who is considering attending the course that at three weeks away from my 75th birthday, for the first time in my life I boarded a plane had a short flight. I had the time of my life, which I did not think I would do in so short a space of time, i.e. a one day course, and be able to overcome my problem, which I believe in the end to be purely fear of the unknown and being too stubborn to take it on. I would also like to thank the pilots on the plane for allowing me to step into the cockpit and have everything explained in detail to me - it was a wonderful moment. So for those of you out there who have fears, whatever they may be, just take a look at me at my age and don't waste your life not trying to overcome your fears. I can assure you that if you join the course you are in the hands of a great and very understanding team. I am looking forward to my next flight!
Peter Kershaw


Hi team,
Well I've been home a week! I managed it! I flew to Orlando.
First and foremost I'd like to say how impressed I was with the crew on the VS73 on 15th October.
As I boarded a lady named Bev looked at my boarding pass and told me where to sit. I explained I was frightened of flying and she said I was seated "in her section" and she'd come and see me. She came over a few mins later with a glass of prosecco. Rubbed my shoulder and carried on with her duties. Then an amazing steward called Simon told me that flying was his favourite part and not to worry. Bev came and collected the glass as we were taking off shortly. We were sat on row 27 so right next to the galley. Simon could not do enough for us throughout the whole flight. I actually enjoyed it. A few drinks and some delicious food and we were landing. Where did that 9 hours go?  I wish I could book Bev and Simon for all my future flights. They are an absolute credit to Virgin.

We had two amazing weeks in Florida.
On our return our party was all split up over the place but after a few tears at Disney Springs check in, the Virgin Atlantic staff sat me, my hubby and our daughter together in row 68.
I'm so glad they did as the turbulence was horrific. Seat belt light was on for the majority of the journey home. I just kept repeating in my head "it's not turbulence, it's just movement of air. It has the same properties of water except you can't see it" This really worked for me. I was actually reassuring my family that we weren't in danger.
Lovely landing at Manchester. Can't wait to go again.

Thank you so much. Pam x
Future Courses (our prices haven't changed for years!)

PREMIUM: Heathrow December 4th; Leeds February 5th; Birmingham February 26th; Gatwick March 5th; Southampton tbc.
CHILDREN: Heathrow Dec 4th; Gatwick Mar 5th.


  1. Hi: I attended the course at Gatwick on Sunday 6th November. Although I have flown I hated it and therefore had not taken to the sky for many years. One of the comments I took away was that there was a room full of people who were addressing their fear - that meant we were all more than half way to overcoming it. We had CHOSEN to go. There were many positive aspects to the day and when we all got on to the bus to go to the airport for our short flight I would say there was an air of anticipation. No-one looking at our group at the boarding gate would have realised that there was a group of people, scared of flying. Anyway I did it and yes I was still frightened but all the noises were explained both before the flight and during it and that helped enormously. I came home and my husband and I booked 4 days in Barcelona for the following week whilst the course was still fresh in my mind. I did get there and back taking my Flying Without Fear book with me. It was my mantra. So - I'm still fearful but I know I can do it. All the folk from Virgin were so kind and I would thoroughly recommend the course to anyone. Thank you Virgin.

  2. I attended Manchester on Nov 13th - it was a real help for my condition just to be able to share and hear about the issues we all have. It introduced some alternative approaches to the problems and it has definitely had a positive impact upon my situation. Thanks to the team and the people who flew with me.