Fear of Flying App Good Idea or Hot Air?

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Virgin Atlantic Airways recently released an app for flying phobes. Called Flying Without Fear it’s modeled on the company’s brick and mortar course which they claim has a 98% success rate.

What do you get for $4.99? Well, a reassuring message from Mr. Hot Air Balloon
Sir Richard Branson himself, plus relaxation exercises, answers to fear-based questions, fear therapy and a handy inventory of on-board noises so you know everything’s ok.

Whoopie Goldberg recently got her wings back after an airplane hiatus of over 10 years thanks to the Virgin course:

“The program works, I was a skeptic. I hadn’t flown in 13 years but after doing their program, I understood that while my fear was real, there were many things I didn’t know or had misinformation about, which they were able to clear up. So what happened? I now fly. It’s that simple.”

While not everyone can attend Virgin’s £199 ($326) full day course, it’s worth wondering whether an iPod app can substitute the real thing.

I once had a co-worker for whom flying was a real drama — he ended up in such a state he regularly had to be taken off planes and usually booked multiple times before able to stay aloft in the friendly skies — and I don’t know if passengers more than a little discomfited by air travel would benefit by a few reassuring words and games.

Hearing his story, I also wonder if you’d be able to use the app during take off and landing, which seemed to be the critical moments.

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