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Hello I attended your course in early February this year. Although I had flown for business for many years 'because I had to' I found that having retired I was becoming more and more scared at the prospect of flying. Up comes my husband's 60th and I rashly agreed to a trip to Peru and the Galapagos this October The trip involved 9 flights only the first on BA. I just wanted to thank firstly the messages from the course which gave me so many pointers for keeping calm, the material on the BA entertainment which reinforces the relaxation routine and the BA Business Class crew on the first leg from Gatwick to Lima. When I boarded the plane and mentioned I was nervous and had been on the course they all rallied round and made me feel very relaxed and even confident about the flight. I didn't get the name of the head cabin stewardess, she is Italian and lives in Spain if you are able to track her down please thank her in particular. Our flight to Lima was BA2239 on 17th October The rest of the flights were at first daunting but each time I went through a relaxation routine and I was fine. I even started to look out at the views. Most of the flights were on A320 or A319s so I was listening out for the noises from the course flight, even explaining a few to my husband though I couldn't remember what the 'dog bark' was caused by! Circling over Quito for 40 minutes waiting for a storm was a real challenge but I was calm, no shakes or cold sweat!! The flight from Quito from Madrid seemed long but that was just because it was time to get home after three weeks, the flying part was fine So I wanted to express a big thank you for the course. It has removed a major barrier to travel enjoyment and I no longer dread my husband suggesting we book and use that companion flight! (Though from a pure comfort perspective I would prefer to stick to BA) I would recommend anyone and everyone takes the course! best regards Francesca
Dear Flying with Confidence,
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the wonderful course. I attended this course on 2nd June at Heathrow.
I was incredibly nervous before going to the course but on arrival, everybody was so reassuring and welcoming. The course was brilliantly organised. NO question was too stupid for the brilliant pilot/cabin crew/psychologist team. I felt completely different, even after the morning session, mainly by the pilot talking to us about the technical aspects of flying which was so so helpful.
We had a great lunch and all the other people attending the course were so warm and friendly, all finding solace in being with similar minded flying phobics!
The afternoon session with the psychologist was equally helpful and very relaxing.
The flight was fantastic. I was agitated and slightly nervous, but nowhere near as much as I would have been had I not had all the reassurance from the team. The pilots and crew talked us through all the lumps, bumps and noises that we heard and were assured that everything was NORMAL! I actually ENJOYED the flight!!
I can’t wait to get on my next flight and put all the breathing techniques into practice and to keep in mind all the helpful advice given to us by the team.
A heartfelt thank you to you all and a really recommend this course to anybody anxious/frightened of the whole flying experience.
To All at Flying with Confidence,
I have been meaning to write this letter for a while, but things have been rather hectic having recently got married. I hope that it will still be meaningful a couple of months on :)
I attended the course at Gatwick on 11th November. I attended 6 days before my wedding on 18th November.
Now anyone who has planned a wedding would be thinking (and some people asked me!)… ‘What on earth possessed you to travel so far and spend a day not finalising wedding arrangements, so close to the big day?!’
The answer? On 19th November my new husband, Dan, and I, had tickets to fly (with BA, from Gatwick) on our once in a lifetime Honeymoon to Mauritius - an 11 hour flight! Only problem was … I was terrified of flying, and worried that I would spend my wedding day stressing about having to endure the flight the following afternoon.
This is what led Dan and I to agree that it was worth the crazily impractical logistics of getting me to Gatwick one week before our wedding, and one week before another trip to Gatwick! This meant that Dan had to stay behind and do all of the last minute wedding logistics. It meant that we had to use money from a budget that was already stretched to say the least! It meant that I had to get up at dawn and get several trains, planning the whole endeavour like a military operation to make sure that my physical disabilities would be accounted for. It was totally worth it.
The reason I am emailing is to say a huge, heartfelt, ‘you changed my life’ thank you to everyone involved in planning and running the course. There are three main things about the experience that I would like to celebrate.
The first - SUCCESS! My fear of flying has reduced from about 90% to about 15% and I absolutely ROCKED the honeymoon flights, with a little nervousness, but simply nothing like it would have been previously. The content of the course, the structure, the style of delivery, the balance between technical and psychological content, the attitude to attendees, the venue - everything - was absolutely spot on and it helped me to overcome my fear more than I could possibly have hoped.
The second - ACCESSIBILITY. I have tried to access hundreds of venues and courses over the years, and I can not think of a time when my needs were more personally addressed. On the day I was greeted like royalty by staff who were fully aware of, and had planned how to manage, my needs. The highlight for me was that staff seemed to know how to balance my additional needs with respecting and maintaining my dignity. Rather than making a huge deal about it, I was quietly asked on arrival ‘How is your mobility today?’ For me this is the perfect question to ask. My condition is changeable and on some days I need a lot more help than others. Even the acknowledgement and understanding that days might be different, and that I’m not just an unchanging heterogenous mobility need to be met, set me at ease right away. The organisation of wheelchairs, support during check in for the test flight, and personal touch throughout was honestly outstanding. I can’t praise everyone involved highly enough. This includes the office staff who spent probably over an hour the day before the course trying to work out with me the best access arrangements.
The third - PERSONAL TOUCHES - Quite apart from my mobility needs, it was crystal clear to me that everyone involved in the process genuinely cared about what they were doing. They were truly invested in helping people overcome their fear of flying, because they wanted people to experience the same freedom to explore the world that they do. On the test flight there was a lady next to me who was absolutely terrified. She was panicking, shaking, not sure if she could stay on the plane etc. She had a member of staff allocated to her and I could see in his eyes that he was thinking about nothing else than supporting this lady to overcome her fear. His investment in her wellbeing made me feel quite emotional. It’s hard to put into words but I don’t think I’ve ever attended a course where there was a such a lack of pretence and such a bunch of genuine, human, down to earth people running it. This even extends to the wider BA staff! On the way back from Mauritius, a member of flight crew had clearly spotted the note on the flight manifest and came to check in on me several times. As I walked out of the cabin at the end of the flight she ‘high fived’ me, saying ‘I’m proud of you! You rocked it! 11 hours! You can go anywhere in the World now!’ It’s hard to explain how validating and supportive that felt, and how wonderful that it’s not just those physically present on the course who care.
Without going into too many details, the previous few years have been a struggle, particularly coming out of a lengthy marriage which was a very difficult process. Meeting my now husband Dan, after everything that I have experienced, is a blessing too great to describe, and life feels like it was intended to. The honeymoon for me signified the start of a different era in my life. An end to a long time of pain. Thanks to you, I was able to embark on it without fear and with a focus on the blessings that are now surrounding me. I was able to celebrate where I am now, not dwell on where I have been, and most of all…I didn’t spend the whole honeymoon dreading the flight back!
THANK YOU more than words can say for your excellent, incredible and life changing team!
With very best wishes,
After a bad experience in 2013 and struggling ever since to get on a plane without medication an hour before, I attended your course in February 2 weeks before flying to New Zealand. I found the test flight tough but with the breathing exercises and help of the crew I got through. I flew to New Zealand successfully and now I'm 8 flights in this year. Last week I fly back engaged with my new fiancée. No medication during any of the flights. Thank you so much for giving me back my confidence. It was always there, I just had to find it again and you taught me how.
Just back from my first trip since I did the course. Each way there was a lot of turbulence which beforehand would have me absolutely terrified, crying shaking etc. I remembered all the great information from the course and breathed and squeezed my way through it, knowing I was uncomfortable but totally safe. My family who have seen me in some states before during bumpy flights were amazed I was so calm and collected. This course has changed my life!! I honestly can’t recommend it enough!
I wanted to thank you and your amazing team for the recent LHR course. It has made a big difference to my life. I am still apprehensive of flying (Rome wasn't built in a day!) However I am no longer feeling sick at the thought of my next flight and trying to avoid it. The course answered all of my questions, even the strange and irrational ones that were answered by the amazing speakers without me even having to ask! Particular thanks to Jane for being so kind and supportive and funny.
I just wanted to write to say a massive thank you for hosting such a brilliant course. I found it incredibly helpful. The best testimonial I can give is that I have already flown once domestically since the course three weeks ago and am booked to fly to Italy for a week this Saturday. Neither of these were planned before the course so a huge, huge thank you for liberating me!
What a simply fantastic day. I cannot rate this highly enough. The staff were incredible, each and every one. Throughout the whole day I was made to feel welcome, my individual needs and fears dealt with. This seriously takes some doing when there is such a large group of people. The content left nothing out, and I found myself stood at the gate waiting to get on a plane without shaking, feel sick, heart racing and tears dropping, and yet, not sure how it happened! Please please please do this if you have a fear of flying. Thank you to all the staff, I will be grateful forever. Xxxx
WOW - Having been putting off flights and taking medication when I did have to travel I finally took the plunge and after an emotional phone call booking the course I cannot speak more highly of both the course but everyone involved. Even from the booking experience - the support started and there is someone who *gets it* and doesn't think your being silly or *soft* - so supportive from the start.
I was very nervous - there were people even more nervous than me there - and some who seemed better - but we were all there - as they say at the start - the hardest thing is getting to the course - such an opposite feeling at the end of the day than the start. EVERY question you have can be answered by those there - and i would def need a calculator to add up their years of experience.
Not only were there the speakers for the various sections - but the other members of the team to help you during breaks, walk to the terminal and of course the flight itself. I bought the book on the course - and when i read it through now I can hear the voices of those speaking on the day and makes it more real and reassuring. I drive past LHR a lot too on the M25 and i look at the planes taking off over me without fear now too - those turns are safe, real and normal - so for me not just the on plane experiences that it has impacted. Thank you to EVERYONE involved in the LHR course in February. Not looking back now.
I would like to thank everyone that was on the team on Saturday for such a brilliant day. I signed my daughter and myself on the course as we both had a fear of flying but for totally different reasons- hers turbulence and mine claustrophobia. We found the course very informative both technically and emotionally. My first test was a lift to the terminal something I usually avoid at all costs and would have panicked instantly but I found myself going in breathing and squeezing and before I knew it we had arrived.
Everyone on the flight was so encouraging. I'd love to be able to take the team with me whenever I fly. We both survived the dreaded flight and found ourselves emotional that we had done it. The course has changed our thought processes so much in that I am now looking forward to my holiday to South Africa on 20th Feb and yes flying BA. Before the course I was dreading stepping on the plane but now know I have the tools to help me and also the knowledge that there is a caring crew around me.
My daughter too is now frantically searching for that perfect break with her family but will be travelling further afield instead of the West Country in the U.K. We cannot thank you all enough. We would both highly recommend this course to everyone. We have also put our comments on your media sites.
Hi Steve, Andy, Patricia and all the team
Firstly, and I'm sure you receive these all the time, but I just wanted say thank you for the course yesterday. I have been raving to everyone who'll listen about it ever since, I haven't felt that calm on an aircraft for 10 years and for the first time in my entire life I got out of my seat and walked around the aircraft and it didn't drop out of the sky!! A truly remarkable course you should be extremely proud of.
Hi, I am currently in Budapest having a wonderful time and just wanted to say thank you again as I would not be here without your excellent course. This time the flight was a little different as I had some "moderate" turbulence to deal with. I went hardcore on the breathe and squeeze and also the mantra of turbulence can be uncomfortable but never dangerous and it worked - I even comforted my wife.
I was also able to talk to the BA captain and will now be sitting over the wing not at the back of the plane. Let me know if you ever need an independent review of the course as I can genuinely say from the day about 3 years ago when I missed the course and had a panic attack on the flight to now is unbelievable and I still have to pinch myself that today I was having supper in the Mazel Toff in Budapest and tomorrow night I will be home in Reading. You guys are good.
I had to write and let you know just what a difference attending your course has made to my life. I was at Gatwick for a one day course in May, and had such a great day and left feeling buzzing and full of confidence.
I had flown in the past but as I got older was finding it more and more terrifying! I realised that for me I needed to know just how and why things worked, so the morning session with lots of facts and figures was ideal for me.
The flight itself was a revelation, and the only let down was the fact we descended far quicker than I would have liked! However it has been several months between the course and my trip of a lifetime to Asia so I was a little concerned that the effects of the course may have worn off and I would be back to my quivering self within minutes of getting to Heathrow. But I read my book several times again, talked myself through the psychology methods of relaxing and got through it all without too much trouble.
Over the last 4 weeks I have flown to 4 different countries in Asia, a total of 8 flights altogether, varying from 10 hours to just one hour, and on a variety of planes, big and small and also 2 flights in business class.
I can honestly say that the one day in Gatwick has completely changed my life - flying still probably isn't my favourite choice of travelling but I can now plan other trips and know that once I am in the air all will be well with my world.Thank you so much to the team, I have sung your praises many many times and encouraged other people to attend.
I am forever indebted to you all.
Thank you very much to the excellent team who did such a great job. My daughter felt it was really well organised and when I accompanied her on the flight she was a changed person.
She's off to Copenhagen next week and is now looking forward to her holiday. I also enjoyed the flight and thought it was very clever to get people to stand up to get their drinks and snacks. Highly recommended....
Went on the course, went home and booked flight to Australia for the following week. Friends and family stunned!! Had a great holiday thanks to you helping me overcome my fears.
Had never flown for more than 2 hrs previously, and then in panic mode. I actually enjoyed the 22 hour flight. Thank you.
Well, firstly I'd like to express how well organised this course is, it was great to be greeted by pilots and air stewards who really showed an interest in the people and their fears/phobias. I had no idea what to expect, but I'll say to anyone who is not sure about attending the course that you will find people from all social classes, young and older, men and woman. All with the common goal to take back the opportunity to travel and see the world or progress in their careers where travel is required.
The empathy towards people was clear, there were times for laughter and reflection. Steve, Niven and the rest of the aircrew gave an excellent presentation on the technical side of the aircraft and in flight detail.
Patricia has put together a superb presentation that covers all the areas required to relax us all ready for the flight. She has been in your shoes too, so knows exactly what it feels like.
The flight was great, so nice to see everyone out of their seats, chatting and laughing with each other as if at a party, completely putting aside their worries. All the time the course staff on hand to reassure anyone who was still a little nervous.
Please, if you are worried, scared, frightened to fly, book on this course - it is the best money you'll ever spend and it will help in other aspects of life where you may feel anxiety, it will help you take that step forward.
Thanks again to the FWC team
Following my epic day yesterday (Sat 12th March) attending the flying with confidence course; my day could not have got off to the best start with a high level of anxiety.
My belief of wanting to do this got me there, but I cannot express in words how grateful I am and have the upmost admiration and respect for the help you gave me.
I flew yes, but learnt so much more yesterday about balancing the mind and will continue to listen to your words from your Books and CD and continue to repeat your techniques, even if I do look somewhat daft attempting to be a Piranha or Chicken.
Again my heart warming thanks goes out to you Patricia, without forgetting to the awesome team BA had on hand, especially Iain Singleton and Jane O’Leary.
Well what can I say? Yet again you all are BRILLIANT and WONDERFUL. I now have three Flying With Confidence certificates and I'm proud of each one.
Today was a tough one for me, I've not flown for five years and there's a working trip to NYC looming. So today I really didn't want to get on, and once on I really wanted to get off. But I'd added up all the hours I've flown since my first trip with you, and it now comes to 75, more or less. So how COULD an old hand like me be that fearful?! The first officer, captain, crew, we're all SIMPLY SUPERB at all times. This course is a WONDERFUL thing in a wicked world. As Harold Pinter wrote: "life is beautiful, the world is hell". You, with your skill and kindness make us see the former and much less of the latter.
I've gone on a bit, sorry, adrenaline, so forth. I just want to say thank you for being you, and doing what you do. Truly magnificent men and women in your flying machines.
Respect and gratitude, ever.
I have recently undertaken the flying with confidence course and would very much like to give a heartfelt endorsement to Captain Allright and all the team that support this incredible initiative.
I can with all sincerity state that this course has given me a new sense of freedom, independence and strength. It has taken me some fifteen years to book this course, many a time I have sat at a computer and intended to click through to the payment screen and many times the log off button has been far easier to click.
Nervous, anxious and tense are three words that come to mind when I recall walking in to the conference room but at the end of the course I was motivated, elated and proud. A month later I was on a long haul flight to New York City to run the NYC Marathon, running is a passionate pastime of mine so to be able to do this in the Big Apple was an overwhelming and emotional experience, only made possible due to the supposedly simple task of getting on a plane!!
The Flying with Confidence course is a fantastic and worthy experience, which I cannot recommend highly enough to anybody hovering over click thorough to payment. Please have the resolve to follow through and book this course, it has truly been a life changing decision for me and I have more flights booked for 2016.
Good luck to you all and my warm and genuine thanks to Steve, Andy, Keith, Elaine and the rest of the team
I have just completed your course at Glasgow today and I can't express enough how amazing it was! The whole team were fantastic, understanding and really knowledgeable - it definitely helped to calm me down. I went from being a nervous wreck waiting for a flight to being calm and quite relaxed with only a wee bit of anxiety. I normally hate take off but I managed that no problem. You got someone who never moves from their seat to get up and walk around. I enjoyed this flight so much and can't wait to book my flights to Germany.
Thank you so much for giving me the tools to help me start to progress and enjoy flying again.
It was lovely to meet you yesterday, thank you so much for fitting me onto the course at the last minute. It was an absolutely amazing day on so many levels. Not only was it very helpful but also fascinating and enjoyable. You were right; it is good to actually understand how the plane works.
Every single one of your team was incredibly encouraging and kind. I really can’t compliment you enough on that. Please could you pass my thanks on to all of them.
That is certainly the best I have ever felt on a plane. I have never dared look out of the window before and yesterday I couldn’t see enough! I am still nervous about flying on my own, but I am confident it will be better now than it was before. I didn’t even need my gin !
I wanted to say how incredibly rewarding I found yesterday's Flying With Confidence course. It was a great day and helped me a huge amount. The flight was better than I expected and I left feeling an enormous sense of accomplishment and was proud of how I handled the flight.
Captains Richard, Simon and Niven along with Dr Stoll, Jane the Purser and all their other colleagues who assisted were fantastic. Thank you all very much.
I'm sure you won't remember me, however, two months ago, having not flown for 10 years, I attended your premium course at the Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5 on the 13th of April 2015 with Patricia and Steve.
We flew from London to Edinburgh and I really enjoyed the day. I'm writing to you in the spirit of communicating a job well done. This morning, I received my British Airways Bronze Executive Club membership having flown eight times and over ten thousand miles to 4 countries in the last 2 months. You have changed my life. I have subsequently had pending promotion approved at work thanks to my new found flying "super-power".
Thank you all very much.
After deciding to offload myself from a 45 min AMS LHR in Club Europe flight (What was I thinking missing out on Tier points - I was stuck on Blue!) my husband decided that I should go on your next course. However if we go back 10 years ago I had just got my “Wings” as cabin crew and was loving every moment of it – including medical emergencies, bumpy flights, loss of an engine and also dealing with nervous passengers, I was the last person anyone would think of not boarding a flight. For a day job I live and breath aviation as a University lecturer in Aviation Management, I’m sure aviation is in my blood.
So anyway back to August 2014 – I nervously drove to LGW not because I was scared but because I felt stupid that I had let an irrational fear get the better of me. What really made the day for me was Patricia – straight talking and honest, non of the mumbo jumbo as seen on another airline’s YouTube channel.
I had to wait until November 2014 for my next flight, a short flight from MIA to IAD followed by IAD to LHR – I was looking forward to both flights they were at the end of our Transatlantic Cruise and our BA from IAD was in First. The first flight was smooth, some minor bumps on climb out, but fine. The overnight would be my big challenge, however our aircraft went tech in LHR so our flight home was cancelled and I was the only one who saw the shining light to this. We got rebooked immediately for the next day and I was grinning from ear to ear when told “ You’re on the BA 216” – now not only were we in First, but on the A380 “Happy Dance”. We had one short period of bump, which did set me off a little, however I put my headphones on and played the CD and within minutes I was out for the count. It was a very positive step and I got upgraded to Bronze.
I booked a day trip to MAD for my husband and I as a thank you to hime and on the way home the Bay of Biscay decided to test me – I sat at the back (I know what you are thinking), but I was fine I felt more “at home” – actually I wanted to sort out my husbands coffee which decided not to stay in the cup but quickly remembered I wasn’t crew. Since then I have had 9 return flights 3 on my own (with Turbulence) and now am Silver!
My confidence is slowly returning, I listen to the CD periodically and before a flight. So now I get anxious whenever there is not a “next” booking in my BA account!
So after all of that rambling – I just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU to all that helped me on the August Course and here is to many more flights with BA.
I just wanted to write you an email to say a huge thank you! I attended the course on Saturday 14th September 2013 at London Gatwick. I drove from where I live in Munich, Germany to attend as my fear at that point was so great, I wouldn't get on a plane.
Thanks to the course and the tips and information, I have just returned from a fantastic holiday to Doha, Singapore and Bali taking 6 flights in all including my first long haul flights of 6 hours and 7 and a half hours respectively.
I never, ever thought I would visit these places nor be able to cope with being on a plane for so long yet the course gave me the chance to overcome my fear, face it and follow my dream of visiting Bali. I even coped with light turbulence and a bumpy approach into Singapore! I look at a world map now and find it incredible that I, with a complete phobia of flying, flew to the other side of the world, saw fantastic places and experienced new things, so thank you!
A whole world has now opened up to me, thanks to you, and my husband and I are now planning to fly to Vietnam next year to pursue our dream of doing a motorbike tour of the country and I am due to fly to New York in June on my own. These are places and things I never believed I could do and I am so grateful that the course allowed me to overcome my fear.
To anyone who has any doubts about the course - do it! I cannot recommend it highly enough. The staff are all excellent and really care about you. The information both on the technical and psychological side really do help you face your fear. Don't let the fear hold you back from seeing the places you want to and experiencing things with friends and family.
Thank you again, I really cannot say how much it meant to me to be able to fly to Bali. The honeymoon I thought wasn't possible, happened because of the course.
I wish all your future attendees success in their courses and look forward to flying to New York with yourselves in June.
I'm writing to thank Steve and Patricia for leading such an informative and effective course. I honestly didn't think it would make such a huge difference but Steve answered all our questions honestly and in depth - I now feel much more confident about how airlines are run, the checks that are undertaken, etc. plus what all the noises and bumps mean. Patricia's session was an eye-opener about how our brains can sabotage our thoughts and actions - I will be practicing relaxation whenever I can find the time to help me in other areas of my life too...
Thank you so much, carry on with the good work and I'm looking forward to taking my first trip to Nice in the not-too-distant future.
Who knows, I may be in touch for some advice!!
I know you probably get lots of emails such as this but I thought I would give you an update on how far I have come in the last 13 months since doing the course at LHR last November.
I did the course because I my new job required me to travel to Germany frequently and I would be expected to fly so as to minimise travelling time. I had not flown for 13 years prior to the course and had resigned myself to a lifetime of holidays within easy reach by road and rail. My fear of flying, although completely irrational, was very intense - so bad that it would cause me to suffer from anxiety attacks before even setting off for the airport.
On the two occasions I did try and fly over those years, I never got past the check in desk before bottling it and returning home - you can imagine how deflating that felt.
Then everything changed and I signed up to the course. Setting off to the venue, I remember thinking there was a 99% probability I would not board the plane at the end of the theory sessions. By lunchtime I was 50/50 and by the time we did board I knew I was going to get on (and stay on) the plane. I did suffer during the flight in terms of being highly anxious but Keith Stroll was very supportive and towards the end of the flight I had calmed down and, dare I say it, was actually enjoying the view out of the window! I was on a complete high when I got off the plane and it is a feeling that will stay with me forever.
Since that day, I have honestly lost count of how many times I have flown in the last year. The first few flights were uncomfortable for me, but the feelings of dread and anxiety have slowly but surely subsided after each flight - I even found myself comforting an anxious flyer recently! I would have laughed if someone had told me I would do that 2 years ago!
I would never be arrogant and say "flying doesn't bother me at all now", but to be able to sleep the night before, go through security and read a book whilst the plane is taking off without having anxiety is a lovely feeling. I have also learnt overt time that gripping the armrests as tightly as possible is not required in order for the aircraft to stay in the air!
Yesterday I flew home from Dusseldorf to London City and it was by far my most challenging flight - the journey home was normal until we started our approach into London City. You could feel that the conditions were fairly windy, and for a small aircraft like the Embraer perhaps more noticeable than for a larger aircraft. Then, as we approached City from the East, at around 1500 feet, the pilots initiated a 'go-around'. The weird thing was that it didn't fill me with the terror I though something like that would have done. I would go as far to say I was calmer than some of the other passengers around me, some of who looked quite distressed.
We did a second approach and this time landed (to a round of applause in the cabin). I imagine that some people went straight to the bar when they cleared customs looking at their faces. For me it has not put me off though, it's another experience to fall back on should it ever happen again - that it is safe and that the crew are trained for it.
So - what a difference a year makes. I wanted to share this with you because I would never had done it without doing the course last year.
Just over two years ago, I attended the Flying with Confidence Course at Glasgow Airport. At that time, it was a handful of days away from twenty years since I had flown. As I sit here, now, at Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport, I am about to step onto what will be flight number 52 since that course, just over two years ago.
What it has done for me, is hard to put into words. However, I will try.
As a family, we have had two wonderful summer holidays. With my wife, I have been able to surprise her with two European city breaks for her birthdays. I have been on a few overseas trips with my bestest friends of 30 years+, and many more little jaunts. It has also rekindled, bizarrely, a long lost hobby of aircraft spotting. So much so, in fact, that my ten year old daughter is now so into aircraft, she is 100% determined that she will become an airline pilot. Her last two birthday presents have been a weekend at Heathrow, and one at Sciphol. Both of which, I was there for! "LHR to LAX, on the A380, will be my favourite route", she says.
Whilst everything I've already mentioned has enriched my life, so much, there is one more aspect which has been so fulfilling and rewarding. I live in Newcastle, and my HQ is in Twickenham. For years, I had battled getting home. Train, tube, tube, train, taxi, took me endless hours to get home. Rarely did I get home much before 11pm. By that time, all were in bed. But, since I've been able to fly home, I have benefitted from so much more. I can sit here now and distinctly remember the additional, interactive evenings I've had with the family. The times around the dinner table I was able to make. Picking the kids up from clubs and school when, normally, I would still be hundreds of miles away. Those extra evenings are priceless; my wife, I, and the kids, will always remember them.
To those who think they can never do it, I would say this. I was THE most petrified of flyers, and I had resigned myself to the fact that I would never fly again. If a colleague at work hadn't pushed in front of me a flier about the course, perhaps my life would've remained less enriched, and I would not have experienced all of the above. Even driving past an airport used to cause cause me great anxiety.
To conclude. If I can do it, anyone can do it. To those still remaining sceptical, go for it! I can tell you, hand on heart, it will change and enhance yours and your family's life, forever.
All the best to you and all who run the courses, and the many, like me, you will cure.
Thank you so much! Having never flown before because of fear of flying, I went on the Gatwick workshop in August. The workshop was absolutely brilliant, great concept combining the technical and psychological aspects and also to actually finish the day with a real flight. It helped me a lot and I ended up really enjoying the flight and taking pictures of the amazing view of the clouds. The in-flight commentary was most helpful and also taking the flight together with all the workshop participants was a great experience that made it easy to make the last step.
Now, I have just come back from holiday. I took flights from Manchester to Lisbon and back all on my own and with a lot of confidence. I was still a bit nervous but everything went very well and even a little bit of a shaky landing on the way back didn't shake me all that much :)
Again, I cannot thank you enough, it's such a revelation and positive change for my life.
Thank you to everyone who presented the course on Saturday in Glasgow. It was excellent and I would highly recommend to other fearful flyers. Just booked a long weekend to Amsterdam at the beginning of December and feeling very confident! Thanks again!
Thank you to all the organisers of this course which I took today. Was a very nervous day, but well worth it. Loved the flight !!! 100% recommend - start of holidays abroad :)
I really appreciated the time taken to explain all sounds and technical aspects associated with flying. I was glad to find people on the course who felt the same as I did about flying and know I wasn't alone. Staff were very helpful, friendly and respectful of our fears and have pushed BA firmly to the top of my preferred airline.
In future I will be far more relaxed on take off as that was my main concern. Understanding the noises in the plane and how the wing flaps work was very useful to know. The pilots and crew were extremely helpful and professional. Thank you very much.
I'd like to let Captain Allright know that I successfully flew to & from NZ last July after having a huge panic attack as I got on one of his flights! I was so lucky to have been on his flight as his help & support has changed my attitude to flying completely. I'm no longer a nervous wreck before, during & after! Ive since flown to Thailand too! he was brilliant. I'd love a job with BA supporting passengers in some way but am not sure what sort of jobs are available. I've even considered becoming cabin crew!!! Please let me know if there's an email I can send a testimonial too to help people on your courses. Thank you Anna Wallis.
I can't really thank BA enough for the course yesterday. The crew were so supportive every step of the way and my fellow coursemates were fantastic. It has totally changed my behaviour and attitude towards flying... and I'm already booked in for some island hopping off Korea and Japan in the spring
The flight to St Lucia was very good! I felt very confident from the outset, and had been actually looking forward to it!. Our Captain told us that it would probably be quite bumpy for the first hour as weather bad. Normally this would have sent me in to a"mild panic", but I calmly started breathing, and switched on your "clip" on the My Journey" thingy, and more than anything remembered your confident voice saying "leave it to the experts" and "turbulence is uncomfortable but never dangerous". It worked.! So I am thrilled, and what's more Hugh is REALLY thrilled.
I met someone else at a lunch party last Sunday, who wants me to email her as soon as we are back. After a bumpy flight in to Bristol at Christmas, she has sworn never to fly again. Such a pity, as here we are in lovely St Lucia. And now seriously thinking of Australia and NZ next year (in hops, rather than one Long flight!)
Firstly, I would like to apologise that it has taken me so long to write a ‘Thank You’ email for helping me face my fear of flying.
I had not been on an aircraft before and was always scared of the sight, noise and speed especially on take-off. This fear stayed with me until I turned 30 and decided that I wanted to give it a try.
I booked the Bristol course July 2009. The presentations on the day were fantastic and every hour in the room built my confidence. I entered the room that morning petrified but that evening left with a huge smile on my face. However, I still could not bring myself to book a flight because another fear came into place – the plane I went on at Bristol was a small propeller plane, so I was worried about taking a flight on a larger jet engine. Therefore, I attended a further course in 2010 at Heathrow (flight only) this made a huge difference. I loved the flight and found it much better in a jet engine plane. We booked a family holiday straight away that year.
Since then, I have clocked up 50 hours in the air and in 2012 fulfilled my dream of visiting New York – this would not have been possible if this course was not available for people with a fear of flying. This course did change my life and I am so grateful to the whole team.
I would just like to mention Tony who was great support on the day. I don’t think I could have stepped on the plane if it wasn’t for his support in my moment of panic.
Thank you so much for your help and support. I wish you lots of success in helping more people overcome their fear and fly with confidence.
I would never have believed that I could be writing this whilst staying in Wellington New Zealand, where our daughter moved to 11 years ago. Until the 'Flying with confidence' course on 14 September at Gatwick, I had not flown for about 30 years following a difficult (for me) flight back from Guernsey to Southampton. I had felt so unwell.
I can now proudly say that I have managed 2 long flights - Heathrow to Hong Kong and then to Auckland, and then one short one arriving in windy Wellington with strong cross winds and a short runway. If the pilot missed we would be in the harbour!
The course was invaluable as I understood exactly what the planes were doing, understood the turbulence, and did my breathing exercises if needed. Also helped by a trip to the GP who offered Valium or anti-sickness tablets. I didn't need Valium if I was 'flying with confidence' but the strong anti-sickness medication was well worth having. Turbulence - bring it on!
Thank you so much for the most valuable course I have ever undertaken - well worth every pound. We have several more flights scheduled whilst in NZ including a short bumpy one in an 8 seater to Stewart Island right at the southern tip of South Island. I'm working on the basis that if I can get half way round the world, 30 mins on that trip will be a doddle!
I wanted to send you all a short message to say the biggest thank you for transforming my life! I have not flown for so many years and through that time I have imagined every negative possibility and creating a huge anxiety. You proved on Saturday that 1st it's not only me who was feeling that way and 2nd that there was no need for wasted years. I have just ordered my passport and feel excited to book my flights to Australia... You are worth every penny and the best course I've ever attended xx
First at all I would like to thanks you all for the great work and experience at the course. I took the course November 9th and I flew from London to Denmark November 10th in a 2 hours flight.
All when well, I have had some anxiety problems but i fought them and I now that is a battle I am winning.
Yesterday November 10th at the airport since I check in I told crew that i just finished the course and they make sure I got a seat where I wanted and communicate all flight crew about me and during the flight they were so helpful and fun and gave me the attention I needed, that has make everything more comfortable and I did enjoy my flight.
I thanks again to all FWC team, the British Airways crew and all the professionalism and attention they give.
I will definitely flight again and I am so happy to be able to dream on keep discovering our wonderful world!
I would like to say an extremely big "Thank-you" to the British airways staff at the Flying with Confidence course I attended at Gatwick airport on September 14th this year. They were superb. So patient and understanding and very willing to listen and help with all questions. Their explanations of how a plane functions, pilot and cabin staff training were extremely helpful. Patricia Furness-Smith's afternoon session was revelatory and calming it was so interesting to hear why people react to flying badly and why. Learning to breathe to prevent a panic attack has been life-changing for me!
I had only flown four times in over 20 years prior to the course and each time had to take Valium to help me through the ordeal. Prior to that i had flown to New York and Europe with no problems. On the day of the course I started as I meant to go on, by using the lift at Gatwick Airport station (I have additional fears of lifts as well as underground trains). As the afternoon flight drew closer I got extremely nervous and on take off I had so much adrenaline in my body I sort of froze and couldn't move or speak properly. However a stewardess was extremely calming and held my hand for while until it passed and then I never looked back! I remained a bit nervous but it was fine and I talked to other passengers which helped re-focus me into a calm state. After the flight I felt almost euphoric.
As suggested by BA I took my courage in both hands and I booked a return flight the following Saturday to Glasgow with my husband. Even as I was booking online, my heart was pounding and I felt nervous and I immediately regretted making the booking. Next week the flight out to Glasgow was nerve-wracking. I realised the take-off is the worst bit for me, it's very, very scary! However I didn't freeze up as I had the week before and I breathed for England and it was all OK and I even enjoyed the delicious breakfast a bit later. I had told the cabin staff that I had done the course and was very nervous and they were just lovely and kind and so helpful. The flight back in the evening was such a contrast, I almost felt normal.
The next day was Sunday and I decided that I was going to use the London Underground again. I haven't been on it for 18 years. I decided to start small with one stop and back from Victoria to Sloane Square. As I stepped off the train at Sloane Square I burst into tears, it was that emotional!
Since then I have been focussing on using the District line every week and building up the number of stations I use each time. I now know that i will not have a panic attack as I just need to do the correct breathing - this knowledge is life-changing.
I flew to Munich and back last weekend to visit my daughter. This was the first time I had flown on my own and without Valium for over 20 years. I was extremely nervous at Heathrow airport and told the staff that I had attended the course and was very scared. On the flight Steve and Lucy, two of the cabin staff, were amazingly helpful and SO kind to me. They deserve medals! Without their help I would have become very upset indeed. Instead (after take-off) I actually began to enjoy the flight and was transformed. Whilst in Munich I used the U-Bahn network which I would never have done if I hadn't done the course. Amazing.The flight back from Munich a few days later was much better for me despite it being the Monday of the St Jude storm and flights having been disrupted and this making me feel extremely uneasy. With the kindness of the cabin staff I was able to overcome my reservations and feel calm and secure.
To end this rather long email I would like to say how wonderful the British Airways staff were on my recent flights and how grateful I am to them for all their help and patience. They are a real credit to the company. It is due to going on the Flying with Confidence course that i am now able to fly, use most lifts and parts of the London Underground. This has transformed my life.
Please Please would you say a very big thank you to everyone connected with the course yesterday. I am 55 years old and flew for the very first time yesterday, amazing ,I am so proud to say I have flown !!! Even the thoughts of booking the course made my stomach churn so yesterday was going to be an enormous challenge . Everyone was fantastic and I can honestly say I enjoyed the whole course. The info from the pilots was excellent and answered a lot of my fears and with Patricia's session on the afternoon I was so relaxed on the flight I could not believe it.. Everyone on the flight was so caring and constantly making sure we were all ok..
My daughter is now planning a mini break for us and I can honestly say I cannot wait to fly again although I know I will probably still be a little bit nervous, I won't be terrified at the mere thought of flying ..This course has now made me want to do something I never thought I would be able to do Thank you so so much
I don't normally write testimonials but had to following this course - I am in my mid fifties and about three years ago met my (well travelled) partner, I've tried to make sure we always holiday in the UK but last year went for a long weekend (by air) to Carcasonne - a place my partner was keen to visit. I had avoided flying for about ten years as I was so scared and true to form the flight over to France was a nightmare (it was completely uneventful) but there wasn't a second I wasn't absolutely terrified to the point when we got to Carcassonne the first call we made (at the insistence of my partner) was to the railway station to see if I could get a train back to the UK - I could have done but it was more than the entire cost of the holiday for both of us and would have meant missing a days work - I flew back and during the flight swore to myself if I ever managed or had the luck to get back in one piece I would never fly again - of course we got back safe and sound without incident.
I have an elderly and much loved Uncle and Aunt who live in the USA and who I was determined to see and rashly and at my partner's suggestion booked a two week holiday over in the States with the attitude that I would worry about the flight at the time of departure which normally means a number of stiff drinks before I'll go anywhere near an aircraft. However I had been looking at the internet about fear of flying and had come across this course and decided to take the plunge and cannot quite believe what a positive experience it has been.
I'm very cynical and have a 'yes that sounds OK but what if it goes wrong' attitude - during the course no questions were avoided and in the morning Andy gave a confidence inspiring presentation about the 'nuts and bolts' of aircraft, the mechanics of flying, the crew and their training and, most importantly, the main consideration which is the incredible safety of flying, in the afternoon Patricia made me confront my fears about flying in a logical way and taught me how to deal and react to them. I can't pretend I wasn't (by this time only mildly) worried when our flight started but after the day at the hotel and with Andy's commentary (including Saturday's football scores) and being with like minded people something changed for me and I ended up by the window and wing (I never do this) looking down at the landscape and enjoying it and the landing. The Tuesday after the course I flew to Boston and at the time of writing this have been back one day having thoroughly (and if you'd said this to me a month ago I'd have sworn it wasn't possible) enjoyed the flights. I can't recommend this course highly enough, the only down side being that I have a partner who is now planning lots of mini breaks that could prove expensive!! If you're frightened of flying (like I was) and thinking about this course - do it, it's life changing.
Thank you all so much! I had the most amazing day ever yesterday at Gatwick. I was probably one of the people less able to cope when I arrived (shaking, sobbing, couldn't look at my boarding card, unable to speak - really!). I cried through the first sessions, although I was listening intently, but at lunchtime, something changed. I suddenly realised I didn't know what I was scared of. I knew I didn't like the noises, smells and movements related to aircraft, but that's not the same as those things being dangerous. I had spent years confusing danger with dislike.
I had flown a lot as a child and younger adult but hadn't actually been able to get on an aircraft for 11 years. I'd had psychology sessions and all sorts, and knew more about aircraft and air lines than Rain Man, but something about the way the day was organised allowed me to rethink my view of flying. It enabled me to think that it was normal and to see pilots, cabin crew and air traffic controllers as human beings, not mythical creatures!
The session with Patricia was fantastic and gave me techniques that I feel will also work with my fear of tube trains. I felt able to take control of my thoughts and actions and realised for the first time that the only thing making me feel like I did was me! The relaxation session was really useful and I put this into action on the flight itself....the part of the day that I thought I wouldn't be participating in!
My huge thanks go to Anita, a member of the team, who sat with me and another lady throughout the flight. She put her hand on the arm rest and said it was there if I needed it: I touched her hand once for about 10 seconds! Anita was brilliant and on the occasions I uttered: "what's that noise?" she either said "what noise?" or "that's what we've been talking about, it's the engines/wing flaps/toilet door/etc". I actually got up and walked about, I smiled, I ate some crisps, I reassured others, I looked out of the window (for the first time in 20 years), I watched the wing, I touched the side of the aircraft and I embraced the plane turning 10 degrees without wanting to take the controls and make it go straight again!
A memorable point in the flight was when I felt uneasy about the sensation as we began to descend. Anita turned to me and said "well, we can't stay up here forever, can we?!" It was normal and I finally understood that!
I have also met and chatted to some truly lovely fellow passengers, one of whom I swapped details with: we're aiming to meet up (something that will involve a flight!). The whole planeload of us were in it together, whatever our reasons for attending. The mutual support of other passengers was an important part of the mix, too. It was a party atmosphere on the flight, something that is unlikely on any other trip, but we could take the opportunity to celebrate that we were there, we had conquered our fears, concerns, feelings, and were on the way to perhaps even enjoying flying.
Thank you so much to all of you that participated in supporting me yesterday: to think that people were volunteering their time to help us was really something. I have got two short trips sorted already since getting back last night, one to Newcastle and one to Paris, with a view to visiting my family in New York next year. I am a different person from the gibbering wreck yesterday morning: this has been life-changing for me.
Can I just say a big thank you to all involved in your course especially the cabin crew lady Kathryn adams if it wasn't for her I would never of stepped on that plane!!! also want to thank steve im totally recommending you fantastic course to anyone who will listen and im so over my fear of flying in fact so over it I've been applying to various airlines (including BA) to be cabin crew!
so a massive thank you to all involved!!!
Dear Steve, the crew and other passengers,
Several months have passed since I did the fear of flying course in November and the follow up flight in February from Heathrow.
I had not flown for over 20 years ( I had frequently flown several time a month ) and had become very claustrophobic caused by many reasons including trauma but thanks, to the understanding support on the course of both pilots, staff and my fellow passengers I made it onto 2 flights, even if I could not manage to sit very far back down the plane on Take off or landing but I could move on the flight even making it to the very back, I achieved something that I had thought was beyond me flying and helped me take on the challenges of my job.
Several things stand out
I was reassured by the presentations especially that the planes are not in isolation they talk to each other about weather conditions etc and they are not just in isolation. I did not think I was concerned about things that were discussed on turbulence, noises or take off bit realised that all of these could have been triggers but knowing them helped me to stay with myself when they happened.
I was not convinced I would make the first flight had it not been for the staff letting me sit at the front and the support of people that I met during the day including fellow passengers - we were all in the same boat and we all helped each other.
I realised how much I had enjoyed this but how circumstance had robbed me off the confidence to do it.
The upshot of this was a second flight where I challenged the boundary again not perfectly but I did it before I tried for work. I flew with BA and they were fantastic I explained to cabin staff that I had attended the course and that my worst part was when we came to a stand still when we landed and they said no problem and ensured I was OK. I managed it twice and loved being back flying.
It has also helped in other ways in my life it is not perfect but we are slowly inching forward to and have techniques to help.
Knowing other were in the same boat for so many reasons helps - yes you have to take on yourself and stand on your own but the fight on the day is like one you never will do again it has a very special positive atmosphere from everyone.
Thank you to you all
As you know my 12 year old son Alexander had developed some anxiety around flying, despite flying extensively since he was a few months old. We had tried everything that we could think off from extensive psychology to bribery but to no avail.
Then we tried the "fly with confidence" course run by yourselves on 11 May 2013. Both my wife and I were very uptight about the whole thing but tried to have a calm exterior for Alexander's benefit.
When we arrived at the Sofitel it was all very professional and slick and seemed to be tailored for the teenagers group. My wife and I waved goodbye and hung around the hotel all day expecting the worst. We never saw Alexander again (partly expecting a call to come and take him home!) until I joined the combined group for the pre-flight briefing. Again this was all very professional and humorous and had a good calming influence. To cut a long story short, we made it on to the plane. It was a great approach to talk the passengers through the flight and to allow them to get up and move around, as this all added to the relaxed environment. Even when the turbulance became quite frequent, you judged the situation very well and talked Alexander through his panic attack.
I had high expectations for the day and you and the team combined to ensure that these were surpassed. My son has now taken the difficult first step to becoming a regular flier again. We have a flight to Edinburgh booked this Friday, 7 June and I believe Alexander has a new found confidence that he can deal with his anxiety, thanks to yourselves. Well done.
I wanted to send a note to all of you to thank you for the great energy and kindness you all brought to this experience. I felt so lucky to have been able to attend this program, and to go through it with such a great group of intelligent, brave and interesting people. The support of the whole group was so important in making it such a wonderful experience for me, and I hope you all felt the same. I am also grateful that it was a small group so we could all ask anything and everything and get tons of support from the AWESOME BA team.
I hope everyone has some exciting plans for future adventures. I haven't planned my next flight yet, but my husband and I have been kicking around different ideas. I never thought I'd do that.
I hope all of you feel proud - You should! All the best and please keep in touch.
Life changing day for me too. Can't recommend this course enough I had a severe phobia of airplanes that even made me feel ill seeing them fly overhead. Not only don't I mind seeing them now I'm even looking forward to flying somewhere something that I really didn't think was possible for me. A big thank you to all the staff and particularly Jane one of the cabin crew that day, I would love to get a message to her x
Great day! First time in about 16 years I've flown without drink and diazepam! Have a flight in four weeks and although I feel a bit panicky I can explain to myself why! I'm hoping I can carry this onto my flight.
Dear Steve, Patricia and the team
Just wanted to say a big thank you following Saturday’s course in Edinburgh.
I learned so much on the day and have taken a great deal away
I am no longer dreading my upcoming flights and feel far more positive about flying in general.
I could go on and on but just really wanted to express my gratitude for such a positive and well thought-out day.
It was lovely to meet you all and I appreciated the constant moral support.
Since attending the "fly with confidence" course i truly believe i have overcome my fear of flying
Prior to attending the course i had become increasingly anxious & nervous with each flight, as a frequent flyer clearly this was not a good thing
I first found out about your course whilst reading the BA in flight magazine on a flight back from las vegas in January 2012 and attended the next available date
I have since flown countless times on long haul (Beijing, phuket) and many short haul trips including 2 round trips on small twin prop aircrafts and i SURVIVED!
I cannot recommend this course strongly enough
First of all a huge thank you to all of your staff for an absolutely brilliant course yesterday. I hadn’t flown for 28 years following a bad flight and, after yesterday, am now looking forward to flying on holiday in 3 weeks time.
I attended your fear of flying course on Saturday 16th andI would just like to say what a wonderful experience it was. I am 63 and have never even been on an aircraft in my life i am claustrophobic and have a fear of heights!! so it was now or never.
Your team of pilots, cabin crew and Patricia were fantastic. If not for them i would never have got on a plane. The way it was all explained and Patricia's help were second to none. I am planning a trip to Spain and would never fly with anyone but B A. From the bottom of my heart a big thank you to you all.
Can I just say what a brilliant course yesterday at Gatwick was (16th March)
After Virtually crying all the way to Gatwick thinking what have I done........
I was just so pleased I did it I feel so good and am going to book a flight shortly all the people were just brilliant it made the day go quickly and Patricias voice was so calming and I loved the humour everyone put into it
If Anyone is ever thinking about doing this I would say just do it .
I had a real fear but somehow understanding and just being talked through various things was just brillaint I am on such a high
I wanted to send you a quick message to say how thankful I was to find you and your on board film clip on a very bumpy flight to Washington a few months ago. I did the course a couple of years ago and have been flying all over the world ever since. However, there are moments when you hit bad turbulence when all those silly fears come back. Thank goodness I found you on the in flight entertainment system, otherwise I would have been back to square one. I’ve been on other flights very recently where the turbulence was so bad cabin crew service had to be shut down, nonetheless, all the techniques learned on the course came flooding back to me and we soon passed through it. What you’re doing for us fear of flying people is wonderful, and finding that clip was a godsend. Please ensure that BA don’t ever take it off the system!! Thanks!
Dear Captain Steve Allright and the rest of the team at flying with confidence,
I completed the Heathrow course back in May last year and wanted to drop you a line to let you know of the progress I have made, or rather over 35 thousand miles now travelled as a result of your excellent course! I returned to the UK on Christmas Eve after completing a four month around the world trip to India, Hong Kong, Borneo, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA - taking a total of 21 flights, including the mammoth 13 hours from Sydney to LA!
The breathing exercises taught on the course have helped me enormously and the knowledge gained in terms of what all the noises means has also helped to make the whole thing much less scary, and has also meant that my frequent flyer husband gets to enjoy his flight a lot more without me having to squeeze his hand so tightly! Whilst I haven't yet reached the stage of 'loving' flying, I can now look out of the window during takeoff (impossible before the course as my eyes were always firmly shut) , visit the toilet and have even fallen asleep on a number of the flights including London-Delhi, Hong Kong - Melbourne and Sydney to LA! 747-400's are now my favourite plane and I seem to have become a bit of a plane spotter as a result!
During some of our 21 flights I still became a little anxious when actually up in the air, which I am now working on - but I found that reading the 'golden rules for taking the fear out of flying' which we were given during the course really helped. These rules became known on our trip as 'Tony Brown's Tips', after he looked after me on the course flight.
So I just wanted to say a big 'thank you' for all the techniques and information given on the course as it as helped me to really enjoy the absolute trip of a lifetime rather than worrying about which was the next flight we had to take. Also if it is possible to pass on thanks to the cabin crew team on BA flight 112 which left New York on the 23rd Dec to take us on the last leg home, as they really looked after me when they knew I was a nervous flyer and had completed the course - we even got upgraded to first class, which was the most amazing end to our trip!
Next week I am starting a new job and will be taking my first flight on my own, so I am excited to be able to continue flying and making progress.
Dear Captains Peter Hughes and Steve Allright,
Eight years ago when flying to Germany for my aunt's funeral I developed a phobia and couldn't fly anymore even though I had flown to many different countries before.
My family recommended that I go on a course to get rid of this dreadful fear but I declined as I was worried that I would only waste my money and still not fly afterwards.
This year I finally had enough of this limitation and decided to take part in the Fly with confidence course on 15th September 2012 at Heathrow airport. It was a very good day and coming back from the short flight at the end my family greeted me with a huge bouquet of flowers.
This is just to let you know that since then I have flown (on my own!) to Germany and back and it was so much easier than I had expected.Yes, I was still a little nervous waiting to get on the plane but as soon as I was in my seat I was fine, actually enjoying the take off , chatting to people next to me, eating, reading and relaxing, all things I could never have done before. Thankfully we hardly had any turbulence but I am confident that I will now also be able to handle this.
So thank you very much for opening the world up to me again!
WOW! Went on your course in Glasgow on 29 September 12 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Captain Steve said so many things that could just have been me! The "bing bong" that I thought was secret code for the air stewards to get ready for disaster... it was so informative and done with a touch of humour...fab!
In the afternoon one of the team said that Patricia would have us so relaxed that we'd be sleeping! "Aye, right! " I thought. I've been to yoga and never been able to get in that state so Patricia would have no chance. How wrong can you be?! I was just about asleep... I couldn't believe it!
However, I decided not to comment until I'd been on my first flight after the initial euphoria of the day had worn off. Two weeks later I flew to Rome to go on a cruise and back again a week later.
All the confidence came right back. "Right engine on...left engine on...Noisy is good!" Fantastic! I didn't take any pills and was completely relaxed about the whole experience.Even turbulence over the Alps was absolutely fine.I couldn't wait for the seat belt sign to go off. Not, as previously, thinking this was a signal that the plane was not going to have engine failure for at least the next short while, but so I could go down and tell my sister that I really was fine! I was actually quite looking forward to the flight home!
I've travelled thousands of miles. America, Australia....and people couldn't understand that I could do that and still be frightened, but I was. I laterally took pills to get through the whole experience. But not any more! I took pills with me just in case but I didn't need them Thanks to your fabulous staff on your course!
My husband had always tried to talk me through things..."that's just the landing gear" etc but it had little effect. But your team have done the trick and now I feel "cured". My son feels the same way as I did and I will definitely treat him to your course so he doesn't have the years of self inflicted misery of flying that I had.
What a fabulous, life changing experience. I hope the other people that were on the course with me that day have found it as successful as I have. Thank you!
I am going away on holiday (Monday 26th August). I do feel just a little nervous but I know I will be just fine. My family cannot belive that this course has helped me. Thank you to everyone who put this course together - worth every single penny.
I cannot say enough about the course. 22 years of not flying and now I feel the fear has gone. I am excited and really "enjoyed" the flight. Can't wait to fly again and feel I can now go and see the world. The day was such fun and I met some lovely people - staff and participants. Well worth the money. I felt the content was just right - especially the funny side, I will not forget this for a long time and will transfer skills learned to other situations.
A special thank you to Jane, an air stewardess, who was so kind, supportive, natural and down to earth.
Please use my comments if they are useful.
I can only agree with all the positive feedback illustrated in your testimonials.
I have refused to fly for nearly 20 years because of my extreme fear of flying. I had tried medication and hypnotherapy but to no avail.
I attended your course at Gatwick on June 30th and found the whole day to be informative, interesting and empowering. All staff involved were genuinely caring and really wanted to see us all succeed. Although even up to the point of reaching the departure lounge I was in two minds, the techniques introduced to us were a great help. The flight was awesome, enhanced by the detailed commentary given by the pilot. I was actually disappointed when we had to turn around and go back. I had to take photos with my camera to prove that I had taken the flight because my family would not believe it.
Two months ago, I would go pale and sweaty just seeing the inside of a plane on television. In two weeks time, I will be flying to Fuerta Ventura for my first holiday abroad in nearly 20 years. It will also be the first time my children have flown. But not to worry, I can explain every noise and movement to them if they get worried.
I would recommend this course to anyone. IT WORKS. My fear of flying was overpowering and life limiting. This course has been life changing for me and my family. We are already looking for a another little winter holiday abroad. There is no stopping us now.
Thank you all very much.
You may not remember me but we spoke on the phone when I only wanted to do the flight part of your course. Eventually you persuaded me to do the full course which I did in May this year at Heathrow (I think it was May). The course was excellent, very friendly and professionally run with a fantastic venue. Well after 18 years of not having flown (with the exception of the course flight), I am writing to thank you and your team from a beach in puerto Pollensa Mallorca. Although I was a little nervous, the course has given me new confidence that will enable my wife and I to visit the places we have always wanted to go to but thought we never would. (my wife loves to fly)
I just want to put on record my thanks to you all for a most illuminating day, despite my worst fears I returned home to tell the tale.
I really was unsure that I would !!
I will have no qualms whatever in promoting your team to any others with fears like mine, despite all of my demons for more years than I care to remember, the way that fears were handled was first class.
I know there were failures which is a shame & others that looked as if they might be, I am most happy that I personally lasted the distance and earnestly hope that when I do decide to fly next that I can bring all of the memories & information gained into use.
My thanks & best wishes to you all,
I attended your course at Heathrow 26th May 2012
I had flown before but over the years had become more and more terrified. I had a panic attack on a return flight and was certain I would never fly again. I was so terrified that I couldn’t speak about or watch videos of aircraft without getting the sweats and shaking. I kept putting off the course and making excuses until my partner decided that enough is enough…I’m going to sort out this irrational fear!!
On the day I soaked up all the information given to me about the mechanics of the aircraft, which is so safe, and it was my irrational fear telling me otherwise. My personal fear was being claustrophobic and having no control. I listened to Dr Keith Stoll who explained why we panic, get anxiety and ways to help overcome this. During takeoff I felt panic coming on, but using the techniques given to us and with the help of your air stewardess I overcame this. I believe Angela was her name; she was brilliant, calmed me down and was with me every step of the way. I would really appreciate it if you could pass on my special thanks to her and let her know that I did fly to Cyprus, 4 flights in total, and had it not been for her helping me on the plane and through-out this wouldn’t have been possible.
Dr Keith Stoll spoke to me during the flight which was really helped and Captain Steve Allrights daughter kept looking back to see if I was ok as she noticed I was anxious at the doors of the aircraft.
I have never seen so many people standing up on an aircraft smiling and chatting than on that flight. It amazed me how everyone’s attitudes had change since the morning. When we landed back at Heathrow and I was so overwhelmed that I had done this that I had tears in my eyes!!
I would like to say thank you to everybody at Flying with Confidence because I believe you have truly changed my life.
I have recommended your course to a lot of friends and family and urge anyone who is in two minds to do it as it is a life changing experience
thank you all so much
I'd like to thank the team for an excellent day. For me the morning session was the most valuable and reassuring. All of your speakers were extremely informative and I learnt so much on the day. The flight was great, and I was so relaxed I wanted it to last even longer! I plan to remember how I felt on the flight and keep it with me when I fly to the US in the summer.
I attended your course at Heathrow on Saturday which was amazing!
Also I would like to say a huge huge huge thank you everyone on the day, especially Gordon who sat with me during take off and landing and let me sit at front when I was getting nervous. There was also one of the cabin crew who came and got me after I got off of the flight and calmed me down so I got back on. I am so glad I did because the flight was amazing and unlike any flight I have ever been on and I guess, unlike any flight I will go on in the future. I never thought I would say this at the start of the day but I really wish I could take that flight again!
I woke up this morning and realised that I haven't worried once about having to fly from Heathrow to Toronto on Thursday (with BA of course). Normally with five days to go I would be a nervous wreck but thanks to the course I attended at Gatwick I haven't worried once!
Thank you again for providing such a great service, I'd recommend it to anyone.
Hi, I would just like to double my thanks to Cpn Gordon Black and Patricia Furness Smith from the Aviatours 16/10/2010.
I now have done 2 return trips to both ATL and Geneva, and just about to go to the Caribbean in 2 weeks time.
Both ATL and GND will be done on the 777, in my opinion the best and safest aircraft in the world, and I fly Business, so get treated like a Royal. The Geneva one was done on a 767 on the way out and a A319 on the way back, and to my surprise, on the A319 I started to get claustrophobia, but just did what Mrs Smith said for 2 minutes and have now flown on the A319 with ease on both BA and Easyjet.
Many Thanks again.
There is a world out there and I aim to see all of it.
I hope at some point I will see Cpn Black just to say thanks.
A huge thank you to all, the course has by far exceeded my expectations, I have come away with so much knowledge about flying that I am now teaching friends and family! On a serious note though, the course has and will truly change my life, not only as a flyer but as a person in general. I particularly enjoyed the wise words from Dr Keith Stoll, they were both reassuring and inspiring!
I chose the Flying With confidence Course at the end of last year after having turbulent flights coming back from Philadelphia seeing family. Since these flights I have become more anxious about turbulence on business trips I now go on.
There were many British Airways staff available to talk to on this day so I can mention only a few names but to those I didn’t get the chance to speak to thank you for your time, support and professionalism on Saturday.
I felt a little anxious on the day and arriving at the hotel I had warm welcome by Tony Brown who directed me to the coffee area. It was great to talk to different passengers about experiences and fears of flying.
I know some people are not confident flyers and looking around when I am on a business flight everyone looks calm and collected. You cannot see they may also nervous.
The hotel facilities were exceptional and Steve Allright kept the level of discussion about different subjects at a good level with lots of humour which I think really helps people relax. The other presenters also did a great job with good explanation to questions. Keith Stoll’s talk was also at a good level about anxiety and made me and hopefully others feel more comfortable with the flying experience.
When we left the hotel to walk over to terminal 5 I know at this point this was a big step for most of the passengers on the day. I felt quite relaxed but was impressed to see one of the Captains walk all the way to the plane with a very nervous passenger constantly comforting and supporting which was great to see. The organisation by the team was excellent.
On the plane It was good to hear Steve keeping the humour up and by talking through the noises during the take off and cruising I now know more what is going on.
On all flights I have ever been on you may see 1 or 2 passengers in the aisle but to see half the plane standing and chatting it was something I had never seen before. Brilliant !
I also had the chance to sit in the pilot seat and knew I would probably not get the chance again photo attached. Thank you for talking the photo.
It was a pleasure to meet Carol who worked on Concorde. My late friend Dave was a Flight Engineer on Concorde before she stopped flying. It was good to talk to Carol about her experiences and about her celebrity passengers.
Thank you again for all of your efforts and this has made me more relaxed and comfortable when thinking about and flying itself.
Thank you again for all your hard work and providing this course.
I attended your course yesterday 11th February 2012, I would like to thank all of you for your wonderful patience, endless good humour and attentiveness especially during the flight. I know that I was particularly distressed on the flight but I now understand why this was. The fact that I had made the flight on my own for the first time in 20 years was actually a major achievement for me and I now know the reason for my fear was to do with flying without my husband and not the flight. The explanation of why people may have fears about flying given by Keith has made me realise the last two flights I made alone were to return back to the UK from abroad for my parents funerals. I believe this was the problem and after I had calmed down realised that I could actually, with practise come to enjoy flying so much so that I am looking forward to testing my theory on Monday night with a flight with BA to Australia. The all too familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach seems to have disappeared. So I’ll be doing all my breathing exercises and moving around the plane and I owe it all to your team. I will update you all upon my return in a months time.
With my sincere thanks to you all
I just wanted to drop you and your team a little note to say a great thanks for the course on Saturday.
As you may remember, I attended this course 11yrs ago and that was the last time I flew!
I was in a different frame of mind this time round and listened carefully to all the fantastic presentations and advice throughout the day.
This allowed me to go into the flight very relaxed and (dare I say it!) I actually enjoyed it!
My wife and I are hoping to book a flight to Nice very soon (I normally Eurostar it and meet her there!) but hopefully this time we can both travel together on the plane!!
Thanks again to you and your fabulous team!
I firstly must apologise for not writing sooner. I would like to pass on my huge gratitude to all involved with the fear of flying courses. I took part in one at Heathrow, I believe it was November 2010, or Feb 2011, sorry I cannot remember when. However, I have gone from a shaking wreck who would fly with a blanket over my head, gripping on for dear life crying, I would avoid flying given half a chance. To someone who loves to fly. I had to do the course as we relocated to the USA and the only way to see my family was to get on a plane. I had imagined arriving in the USA and being stuck here as I could just about cope with the flight over, but not back again!! Since taking park I have flown across the Atlantic 4 times in a year, even on my own with the kids, and amazingly, I can read, sleep and even enjoy the meal. I am also going to fly across America to Seattle on my own shortly, and again i am looking forward to it. Just incredible that I now, and I am not exaggerating, love to fly and look forward to it. My son is a little nervous, but the fact that I am able to explain all the bumps, noises etc helps him a great deal. I have even managed to help calm a nervous flyer who sat next to me on a recent short flight.
So thank you all, it has changed my life. I just hope that many more people who were like me have the courage to take the course, it is so worth it.
Please pass on my huge gratitude to all.
I have just been on my first flight since doing your Flying with Confidence course & i didn't cry !, i even quite enjoyed it. I'm amazed at how different i felt having learnt to have trust in the Plane & Pilot. A very big thank you to you all.
I took the BA Fly With Confidence course in September and have just returned from a weekend away in Portugal. To my amazement I found myself relaxed for the duration of the flight. Knowing more about how things worked was a great comfort and having techniques to cope with the odd wobble meant that the flight passed without incident. I am so grateful to the team on the course for making this possible. I enjoyed reading the interview with Captain Allright that was in this month's in flight magazine and his enthusiasm on the course was fantastic. The friendliness of the stewardesses and their obvious love of their job was inspiring. Thank-you so much for making it possible for me to fly at ease. Only 3 weeks now until I go to Australia - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that just a few weeks ago I was strongly considering cancelling because of my fear.
Please could you pass on my huge thanks to Captain Steve Allright and his fantastic team. Yesterday (Saturday 10th September 2011) I was at Gatwick dealing with my long time fear of flying. I had given myself permission 7 years ago not to fly. I had enough of putting myself through the stress and distress of flying. Even looking at a holiday brochure would give me palpitations, I would feel sick approaching the departure lounge and as for being on the flight !!! even my family did not want to sit with me. Come to think of it, I did not want to sit with me.
But yesterday, oh what joy and bliss. Captain Allrights presentations just made sense, his comments that a plane is just so happy in the air made me feel so much more confident. The statistics were helpfull, but obviously I feel a bit worried at the moment, as I am at home and I know its not the safest place to be.
Meeting the pilots was lovely, what great people, would and did trust them with my life. And the girls, were so upbeat and informed. Watching them on the plane with other passengers who were finding it more difficult than myself, was amazing, they were so in tune with what people needed, having them there made me feel so safe, thank you girls.
And as for Patricia, what a star. Her virtual tour of the airport will be replayed in my mind for a very long time. Can't tell you how relaxed I felt walking through the airport.
I have already called and have spoken with Celestine about my experiences on your course, which I attended at Gatwick on Saturday 10 Sept 2011. I am in awe of every single one of you who helped me so much so that things have changed for good.
From the pilot Steve, whose address to the nervous audience was simply outstanding. You do not know how much of a difference you have made to my life. You made a very difficult topic enjoyable and on many occasions humorous. If you ever stop flying planes, take up stand up about flying with confidence. You will go far my friend!!
My first fear was claustrophobia, from planes to tubes to buses and lifts. In fact, anything I felt was an enclosed space that I could not get out of when and if I wanted to. Control was the second issue directly linked in with the first. I have not been on a tube or bus for so long and lifts filled me with fear and if I am being honest, I didn't ever think I would be comfortable in one, but there are always stairs.
However, the techniques we were given to understand and confront out fears and anxiety will remain with me evermore. If I ever have any doubts, then I will return to another course, just to refresh my memory.
The explanation of how a plane works, the weight, the noises, the 'imminent disaster' that we all hold dear when we hear a bing bong noise in the plane, were put into simple, no nonsense terms and I realised that this is something that makes me feel safe and secure and normal.
Patricia, the physcologist, was equally amazing and her experiences of having feelings like I have, was a tonic and she gave relaxation techniques, which I have already stamped on my memory, and have practiced and utilised on my flight last Friday and Sunday
(HOOORAY!!) when I went to Krakow, Poland for a friends wedding. I had a wonderful time and enjoyed my flights, although I was a little nervous before take off, sitting in the seat, wondering if I should panic, so I could put my new found knowledge to the test. I did use the breathing techniques, which worked like a dream and I sat back and enjoyed the time I had.
I must have bored my lovely wife to death explaining about all the noises and how to breath to control my anxiety.
My fears were coming between us and were having an adverse effect on our relationship and I was literally at my wits end. I had to do something about it and fast. I did not want to go to Poland, I was scared and I was feeling quite wretched every day, thinking about it and about how I could not travel by anything other than a car driven by me!! I wonder how many others feel this way.
Anyway, you guys have absolutely changed that. I went on two coach trips, a bus and a train in Poland. Wow!!.
I thank you ALL from the bottom of my heart for your help and understanding. As a 48 year old copper, whose supposed to be rough and tough, I can assure anyone else who feels like I did to confront your demons, enlist on the course and you WILL NOT REGRET IT.
I will always remember the course with great affection and all the staff who were there, I thank you so much.
Last Saturday (10th September) I attended your Fear of Flying course in Gatwick, and even though I really wanted it too be successful never thought I would actually get in a plane.
Well, it's unbelievable to me, but at the end of the day, I was in the air and even though I went through a rollercoaster of emotions, from being petrified to euphoria, it was brilliant. I'm still on cloud nine and it feels so good to have faced this fear that has controlled my life for so long.
I would love you to pass on my gratitude and thanks to all the team involved but a few people in particular were very special on the day. Without Lois I don't think I would have seen it through. Lois sat in between me and another girl and literally held my hand and talked me through on the way up and coming down, she was just lovely. Thanks so much Lois. x The Purser on the plane ( I'm sorry I can't remember his name) but he helped me when I was, let's say, a tad emotional and couldn't even see my way to my seat, he was very kind and funny and kept coming back to check on me. Thanks so much. Another air stewardess, who works with Lois and is blonde and very tall, was just great to me and again sat and talked to me during the day, when I became upset by something someone said about a difficult flight. She comforted me and eased my mind about flying with her experience.
Finally, Steve who talked about airplane safety and stats. Took time out to explain some things to me, and most of all make me laugh with his cheeky humour which lightened the mood. Also for sending my jacket back by post with a thoughtful note inside.
It sounds a cliche, but it really was a day I will never forget and I am so happy that I attended. I have been looking up holidays and I know now that I will be able to go on a plane and take my adopted son on his first trip abroad.
Thank you again and best of wishes to everyone involved.
I write to send you and your wonderful colleagues some positive feedback. I took part in last Saturday’s Fear of Flying course (9 July 2011 at Heathrow) which was extremely helpful.
I thought the technical and psychological presentations were well put together and extremely informative, as well as entertaining due to the sense of humour and enthusiastic attitude of those presenting. It was lovely getting to know the Black family! I was very impressed with Dr Keith Stoll, I learned a lot from him. Having so many staff there to talk to over lunch and in the breaks was a huge help – they were all so helpful, not at all patronising, even at the most ridiculous of our fears.
I felt strongly that I wanted to forward praise for the way things were handled. Kindness, patience, understanding and professionalism were the qualities that shone through.
I for one am very pleased that I did the course – I thought it was excellent. I’ll have a chance to put my newfound coping strategies to the test with a flight to Vancouver next week and then another to Washington to see my children who are starting university there (one of my silly fears is (or rather, was) flying across the Atlantic). But no sleepless nights for me, with my notes from the course and a rubber band for my wrist at the ready, I’m looking forward to it all! So, thank you to British Airways for setting me on the right path.
I am just writing to say a big thank you for all that you did for me on the 15th October at Gatwick Airport to get me flying again.
Every aspect of the course was excellent, from the presentations to the general support given throughout the day. Everyone's positive attitude and understanding made me feel like a ‘normal’ person again who just disliked flying.
I have been trying to board planes for the last 8 years, and each time I got to the departure gate or beyond, I have fainted and been unable to board. My husband has had to go on holidays alone.
At the start of the course my goal was to at least get on the plane, so to actually fly was a big achievement. Although I found it difficult inhaling once I was in the sky (!) I thoroughly enjoyed it - even the landing.
Would you please pass on my thanks to Patricia Furness-Smith, (the phobia therapist) who sat next to me on take-off. I would never have done it without her. Her words of wisdom about flying and relaxation will always stay in my mind. There was also a guy from Air Traffic Control who sat next to us and was really supportive throughout the rest of the flight.
I know the next few flights will remain difficult, but I know I can do it now and will persist. Failing that I will do the course again! Or be in touch for some words of wisdom!
Once again, many thanks for opening up a world of travel.
I would like to thank everyone for getting me flying again. I had flown all over the world with my job up to 3 years ago, when I started having panic attacks and could not go in lifts, car washes or aeroplanes. I had started to suffer from claustrophobia for no reason at all.
In those 3 years I lost out on work in Mexico, USA and Saudi. I tried to go out to Dubai but could not board the plane. I thought I would never fly again.
But going on one of your courses has got me back flying again. I would recommend your course to anybody.
My partner and I had a brilliant day at Manchester Airport and I would like to thank you all for your hospitality on that day.
Thank you all very much.