17 NOVEMBER 2014
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British Airways is hosting a course at Heathrow on 29 November to help nervous flyers. Introduced over 25 years ago the one day Flying with Confidence course has helped more than 45,000 people overcome their fears in time to visit family and friends at Christmas.
Steve Allright, course instructor and British Airways pilot, said: “We will be carrying hundreds of thousands of customers visiting their loved ones over the festive period – and we want to make sure every single person has an enjoyable flight.
Captain Allright shares his top 10 tips for nervous flyers:
Ø Remember that turbulence is uncomfortable but not dangerous. It is a perfectly normal part of flying caused by nature.
Ø Learn to control your breathing. When you feel anxious, hold your breath, then take a long deep breath in, followed by a long deep breath out. Continue long deep breathing.
Ø Combine the deep breath in with a muscle contraction. Clenching your buttocks is most effective, as it overrides other nervous signals going up and down your spinal cord.
Ø Aircraft like to be in the air. They are designed to be in the air. Pilots and cabin crew like to be in the air also, it is a very normal, safe environment for them to be in.
Ø Understand lift. The wings enable aircraft to fly, not the engines. A commercial aircraft flying at 30,000ft can glide for 100 miles even if all the engines fail.
Ø Split a long flight up into half hour sections. Go with a plan of things to do, perhaps things you never get round to. Write a letter, watch a film, read a book, eat a meal.
Ø Pilots undergo a rigorous selection procedure and are among the most highly trained and tested professionals on earth. They are subjected to simulator tests every six months.
Ø Commercial aircraft are incredibly safe and well maintained, and are checked before every flight by pilots and engineers. Routine maintenance is conducted at regular, specified intervals by licensed engineers.
Ø Air traffic controllers are trained and licensed professionals operating under a very strict set of rules. All pilots have to abide by the rules of the air.
Ø Visualise yourself stepping off the aircraft into the arms of loved ones, or into a lovely warm climate, or into a successful business meeting.
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