Airline Promises to Refund Flights If It Can’t Cure Passengers' Fear of Flying
An estimated 6.5 percent of the population suffers from fear of flying, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That number may soon change however, as one airline is offering free flights if their “Flying Without Fear” course can’t cure this phobia.
Virgin Atlantic founded its “Flying Without Fear” course to teach passengers about aviation, technology and the very psychology behind fear.
When passengers show up for the program, they sit in a room and listen to presentations from experts in all different fields. Pilots talk about how a plane works and exactly what they’re doing up in the cockpit. Psychologists discuss different ways of managing fear. At the end of the day, passengers board a short Virgin Atlantic flight to put their new knowledge and techniques to the test.
U.K. customers who purchase a Virgin Atlantic ticket on Tuesday, January 9 can sign up for the course for free and if their fears are not cured before their trip, the airline will refund the cost of the ticket.
The course is available about 20 times per year across the U.K. But for Americans with a fear of flying, getting to the U.K could prove a challenge.
There are several similar courses set up throughout the United States. The Fear of Flying Clinic holds one-day workshops at the San Francisco International Airport. There are similar programs available at Phoenix Sky Harbor and Milwaukee General Mitchell. Travelers can contact their local airport to find out if similar courses are offered.
There are also digital ways of easing flying fears, like an app that will explain turbulence in real time or a guided computer course. Or, follow Travel + Leisure's 12-step guide to begin getting over fears of flying.