While flying is a routine experience for millions every day, for some, it can be nearly impossible due to fear. To help tackle this phobia, select airlines offer ‘Fear of Flying’ courses, which usually include a seminar, question and answer session, and an actual short flight. Here are some of the carriers that offer this service.
For three decades now, British Airways has hosted the ‘Flying with Confidence’ program. The course is run by a BA crew and a clinical psychologist to help attendees deal with their concerns about flying and demystify myths that might hold them back.
The most notable part of the program is the post-session flight, which allows attendees to actually put their discussions into practice. This part sees commentary from the pilot at every step of the way, keeping newly-minted passengers’ fears assuaged in the air.
The course has attracted a significant number of people, with over 50,000 taking the course in the last 30 years. Even more impressively, BA claims a 98% success rate for those who complete the program.
Not to be outdone, Virgin Atlantic offers a ‘Flying without Fear’ course to potential passengers. In action since 1997, the program has helped two to three thousand people every year, ranging from ages five to 87. One year ago, Simple Flying had the chance to speak to the man who founded the airline’s program, Paul Tizzard, and worked on it until 2019. Virgin too offers consultations with crews, psychologists, and a flight to help many.
Tizzard notes that the program’s 98%+ success rate comes down to talking to people and explaining the facts. he said,
“Once you get movement [away from preconceptions], there’s a chance that people can let go of it, that’s the approach. So facts are really helpful, because once you’ve got all the facts out of the way, what’s left is the unhelpful beliefs or patterns [that may have previously caused the fear]†
However, it seems that ‘Flying without Fear’ is currently on ice. The website lists all courses as sold out, while social media feeds have not been updated in the last three years. Hopefully, the program will make a return in the near future.
European low-cost giant easyJet is another carrier offering scared passengers a chance to fly through its Fearless Flyer course. The contents don’t vary too much from the above two, with easyJet also offering a dedicated online course for those who would like to revisit frequently. So how much will all of this set a nervous passenger back?
Since the program is made to benefit future flyers, airlines are keen not to charge too much. British Airways charges £349 ($473) for a primary course out of London Heathrow, with courses from smaller airports like Glasgow going for £279 ($380). While this might seem surprising given that a short-haul flight can be purchased for a third of this price, the combination of the ground experience and experts may make it worth it for nervous travelers.
You can even gift the easyJet Fearless Flyer course to family and friends! Photo: Getty Images
True to its brand, easyJet’s courses come in at just £219 ($296) from London Gatwick, which includes the ground and flight experience. If you have any fear of flying, these courses are extremely likely to help you to start exploring the world by air!
Bonza will start with two bases and 25 routes. Some 84% of its initial routes will be unserved, while only four will have head-to-head competition.
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