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Will iPhone app for nervous flyers take off?

The highly acclaimed Virgin ‘Flying without Fear’ course – with a 98% success rate – is now available as an app for the iPhone.  Will it take off?

One of our own team members here at BURN has an acute fear of flying and regularly takes prescription drugs when taking to the air to calm her nerves. She’s unconvinced.

Firstly, phones and planes don’t mix. Contravening this rule, we are told, will jeopardise our safety – exactly the reason we’re reaching for the phone in the first place.

Of course you could use the app prior to travel, but how many people will think of doing this or indeed benefit from it’s instruction when they are so distant from the very experience that gives them the anxiety. Equally, you can have the “Airplane” mode switched on whilst cruising without affecting the planes equipment, but this will not calm the nerves during taxi, take off and landing which are probably the most anxiety-inducing parts of a flight, and times when you are prevented from using any electronic device. 

According to those afflicted by a fear of flying, the Virgin app does have some useful functionality. For example, it has breathing techniques and explanation of plane noises to calm you down during mid-air turbulence. Unexpected noises are often one of the most troubling things about flying and we can therefore see the advantage of having your own personal ‘pilot’ in your hands explaining what you’re hearing at any time.  

We admire the desire of many brands to embrace new technology but there needs to be a strong rationale for it’s use. In this case, we’re not sure there is.  

Instead, our troubled flyer is going to stick to her own solution – prescription drugs and gin. Not a medically recommended cocktail we admit, but one that works in or out of ‘Airplane’ mode. 

Hot or not? In our view not. Stick to the face-to-face courses, for which we applaud you…

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2 Comments

  1. Ken on November 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Reminds me of the time I once had the (mis)fortune of sitting next to an aircraft engineer who spent pretty much the whole of the flight from Houston to London telling me about all the stuff that could go wrong on a plane. He tried to reassure me by saying loads of stuff can go wrong and the plane would still fly, but I’d have preferred to stay in my blissfully ignorant state. Too much information.



  2. Sam on November 18, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    The thing I find odd about this, is that they are charging for the app! You would have thought that a. the publicity it generates would have been enough return, but also that by helping others, in return they’ll fly with Virgin having conquered their fears.

    On a side note, a friend once told me that the only reason they ban Mobile use on planes is because the billing is almost impossible to work out i.e. where the aircraft was when the call was made. Would seem to make sense?