Browsing Tag: phobia

A British Airways 747 under dark skies - Photo: Francois Van

A British Airways 747 under dark skies – Photo: Francois Van

Here is something that I wasn’t expecting: staying up from 1:30 am to 5:30 am on a Saturday morning to take an online class, from British Airways, that helps people overcome their fear of flying. However, when I learned about their Flying With Confidence program, I couldn’t help but be curious.

I have never really feared flying much. Sure, there might be some hairy moments, but I typically enjoy when the flight gets a little turbulent. However, I know this is not the case for many people.

A fear of flying has always been rational to me. Not only are you in a tube flying 35,000 feet in the air, but when an airline is involved in an incident, it becomes an international story. Sure, one can share data about the safety of flying and use the classic line “you are more likely to die driving to the airport,” but those sorts of things rarely have a major impact.

For many folks reading this story, this view is exciting, but for others it can be terrifying.

For many folks reading this story, this view is exciting, but for others it can be terrifying

Some passengers with flying phobias are able to painfully push through it, but others write off flying altogether. For those looking to overcome their fears, there are some legitimate ways to get help.

I was excited to see what the British Airways Flying with Confidence program had to offer, and I was interested to get more insight. I actually learned a few things that would not only help me with with future rough flights, but also some other phobias that I might or might not have (*cough* gnarly spiders *cough*).

ABOUT FLYING WITH CONFIDENCE

The introduction slide for the British Airways presentation

The introduction slide for the British Airways presentation – Image: British Airways

British Airways has been offering the Flying with Confidence course for about 35 years, and they have helped over 50,000 people. They claim to have a 98% success rate, and I can believe it. They offer a staff of over 40 people who assist from a number of different angles; from pilots to flight attendants, to air traffic controllers — all able to answer questions about the flying process.

Historically, they have only offered in-person courses at London Heathrow & Gatwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Dubai, and Johannesburg. However, due to COVID, they started providing an online option. I felt lucky enough to participate in the first online class.

There was still an in-person session that took place in London, which had about 40 attendees safely spread out among two rooms — they typically have over 100 participants. The course was completed over two days. The first day was a presentation that went over the different aspects of flight and the psychology of flying phobias. On the second day, people boarded a British Airways Airbus A319 and took a flight to nowhere. How cool is that?