/ Travel & Leisure

Can miracle cures sort your fear of flying?

Man with head in his hands

Are you afraid of flying? If you’re thinking of getting your phobia ‘cured’ with a hard-and-fast miracle solution, you might have to think again, as Nicolás Fox discovers…

One in six of us suffers from a fear of flying (or aviophobia) in the UK – myself included.

Yes, I’d heard the safety statistics. And yes, I knew I was dicing with death driving to the airport, compared with how safe I was strapped-in on the plane.

But then take-off begins. Then the strangulating anxieties kick-in. Something had to be done.

Can miracle ‘cures’ work?

One quick Google search later, and I was faced with 11.1 million results. Within seconds I was being offered medication, self-help courses, online videos, books, DVDs, self-hypnosis, day courses.

Promises included ‘a cure in 18 minutes’, ‘freedom from your anxiety’, ‘immediate help’ and in one case, a claim that ‘the problem will vanish within a few minutes’. It all sounded so promising.

Then I spoke with the NHS who told me: ‘Whatever support you obtain in overcoming phobias, you must accept that there is no miracle cure that will simply take it away.’ Oh.

Other ways of overcoming fears

Now what? I didn’t fancy a psychiatric MOT and lengthy psychotherapy sessions. So I steeled myself, parted with £200 and booked a place on a fear of flying day-course.

A few days later, inside an anonymous business hotel on the outskirts of Bournemouth, my name-tag was being slapped on my chest. Embarrassed strangers clustered together.

Polite, yet tense patter ensued as the biscuit table was sized up. Then, all too soon, the ‘inspiration room’ was opened and we were perkily reassured that we’d ‘love flying’ by the end of the day. My inner sceptic raised an eyebrow.

But by the end of the day, short of loving flying, many of us were better equipped to cope with our fears. I’m not saying the day course was a success for everyone – it wasn’t. But it did help most of the group. Me included.

I wasn’t ‘cured’ per se, but definitely felt it was worth the money. Still, you won’t catch me rushing for a window seat anytime soon.

Elaine Iljon Foreman says:
20 August 2010

I was interested to read the Post regarding overcoming fear of flying, and felt it was important to highlight that there are a variety of ways deal with the problem, which do not necessarily involve the experience of being one a several “Embarrassed strangers clustered together.”

Also to say that I certainly wouldn’t suggest people would ‘love flying’ by the end of the day” I can quite understand why the author adds ” My inner sceptic raised an eyebrow.”

As in most fields, there are always a number of “courses for horses” – or should that be the other way around? One such option is the individualised approach developed by a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and which includes a return European flight on a scheduled plane. If anyone with a fear of flying would like to find out more about this, please conct me at http://www.freedomtofly.biz.

Hope that this will provide a helpful expansion within the knowledge of the options available.

(Edited by moderators to remove email address – may get targeted by spam)

Captain Keith says:
22 August 2010

There are many ways to overcome a fear of flying we offer lots of free help and a social network for fearful flyers that already has over 950 members. The first thing I’d recommend is gathering facts and information, and sharing your experiences and feelings with fellow anxious flyers.

josefina Argüello says:
25 August 2010

I hate flying. No, it’s not the frustrating obstacle course of shoe removal, sweeps and patdowns, oppressive crowds, interminable queues, perspiratory delays and airplane food (or lack of it) that makes every trip a challenge. (Though all of the above are worthy reasons to dread air travel.) No, for me, it’s the loss of control that accompanies my first footsteps into the claustrophobic cylinder that my fervid imagination assumes will be my coffin. For the next however-many hours, my life is out of my hands — and I can no longer find refuge in my delusion that my health and safety are 100 percent under my control.


“I ain’t getting on no plane fool”

Mr T

(me= no problem)