It turns out there is an iPhone app to help people deal with their fear of flying. This app is based on Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Without Fear course. The app has a video of what to expect on a flight, answers common questions, teaches relaxation exercises, and sends daily reminders to practice those exercises. You can also use it on the flight itself for reassuring tips and breathing exercises, although you can’t use it on takeoff or landing since all mobile devices must be turned off when a plane is below 10,000 feet. The idea is that you learn over time to contain your panic. These are all good things to do to help prepare yourself for a flight.
Virgin Atlantic’s Fear of Flying course is a significant resource for people who are afraid of flying, and it carries the endorsement of celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg. One might think that the iPhone app would be equally effective. But more than 1/3 of the reviewers on the iPhone app store gave it only 1 or 2 out of a possible 5 stars, mostly because of problems they had using the app while on board the plane. Worse yet, breathing relaxation exercises such as those which appear to be one focus of this program have not been found to be particularly effective in treating fear of flying. (More’s the pity; I love breathing exercises for dealing with stress.)
With less than a week to go before Christmas, it is probably too late to get much help from this app before you get on the plane to Grandma’s anyway, even if it’s more effective than it appears to be. Relaxation exercises like this are meant to be done over time to retrain your brain not to panic in flight.
If you’re dreading your flight, check out my Quick Start Guide to tapping. It details one of the fastest and most effective relaxation exercises I’ve found. While some people need some more detailed work to get over their fear, a lot of people just tap for a few minutes on the aspect or aspects of a flight that bother them most (like turbulence), or a particular fear (like the engines all stopping at once), or a memory of a bad flight and find that their fear is either greatly reduced or gone completely.
If you try the tapping now and still find yourself with white knuckles on your flight, you can do the tapping right there on the plane. It tends to be the most effective at getting rid of a fear for good when used while you are actually doing the thing that you fear, like flying.
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a get-acquainted session to see if I might help you with your own fear of flying. Yes, I work over the phone and Skype.