Fear of Flying App Good Idea or Hot Air?



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.