Coping with a fear of flying

The Stress-Free Flying Workshop

Workshop schedule

There are three phases to this workshop. First, you will be contacted by a psychologist who will help you understand your stress and its causes. Next, you will have practical training sessions conducted in groups of 3 at the Air France Pilot Training Center. Finally, you will receive a personalized follow-up.

A preliminary interview with a psychologist

You will receive a questionnaire when you sign up for the workshop that will help us determine the cause of your flight-related anxiety. In the month leading up to the workshop, a psychologist from the Anti-Stress Center will reach out to you to schedule a 45-minute session. Together, you will go over the information you included in the questionnaire and craft a personalized plan to manage your stress. Though not required, this session is highly recommended.

Information sessions to familiarize you with the aircraft

Start the workshop by learning from experienced professionals:

  • An aeronautical stress expert reviews the physiological and psychological causes of stress. They will share and guide you through breathing, muscular, and mental relaxation exercises. 
  • A flight attendant explains their job, training, and the role they play in making sure the flight is safe and secure.
  • A pilot goes over the basic principles of aerodynamics and introduces you to aeronautics to help you understand air pockets, turbulence, how airplanes fly, and more.

All speakers are available to answer any questions you may have. Please note that participants are all active Air France employees.

Flight simulation to put these lessons into practice

Once you have completed the information session, you will board an exact replica of an Airbus 320 cockpit. The flight simulator is located at the Air France training center at Paris-Charles de Gaulle or Paris-Orly. During the simulation, you will:

  • Experience and better understand all flight conditions (lightning, rain, turbulence) thanks to a three-axis simulator designed to recreate the exact movements of an aircraft.
  • Experience emergency situations to participate in safety protocols.

After the simulation, the crew and a relaxation therapist will go over everything that you learned during the workshop and answer any questions.

Personalized workshop follow-up

The Anti-Stress Center team is available to answer any questions even after you have completed the workshop. You can also make a special request by e-mail each time you fly to better communicate your needs with the flight crew and receive a personalized welcome on board.

You will also receive the book "Comment ne plus avoir peur en avion" (in French only), co-written by Marie-Claude Dentan, doctor in psychology, Captain Noël Chevrier, and Aviator Journalist Michel Polacco. This guide will be a good resource for future trips.

REGISTRATION

The workshop is open to anyone hoping to fly without fear, be it for professional or personal reasons. Workshops are scheduled on Mondays and Fridays in one of the two Air France technical pilot training centers at Paris-Orly and Paris-Charles de Gaulle airports. Workshops are generally conducted in French, though English language workshops are available upon request. ​

Workshop cost: €690

We also offer a session tailored to passengers between 8 and 15 years old in an A320 cabin simulator. These sessions are usually scheduled a few days before the French school holidays. ​

Session cost: €450

For information and to register, e-mail: mail.antistress@airfrance.fr

A few passenger Experiences

Many participants have shared feedback on their experience following the workshop or a flight. Below are a few excerpts from their letters or e-mails.

"I’d like to thank you for the attention and care you showed me during the workshop. At no time did I feel judged for my fear. Instead I received understanding and help in resolving the vicious circle of my fear of flying."

"To my great surprise, my first flight after the workshop went just fine. This is because I now understand everything that’s happening during a flight, all thanks to your workshop."

"This workshop really delivers as promised! My subsequent flight was really enjoyable. Although I felt very stressed at first, I quickly grew confident. The progress I’ve felt is really amazing."

"I’m no longer worried about the idea of going abroad to sign a contract. This is bliss! … The flight went perfectly, as I put into practice the techniques you taught me during the stress-free flying workshop."

"I took part in the stress-free flying workshop and we spoke on the phone to prepare for my trip to Amsterdam. The trip went great thanks to your advice. I was ecstatic when I arrived in Amsterdam, because it was really a miracle for me to be so relaxed during a flight." "I traveled to New York with no stress and I was very relaxed during the flight. Everything went great and I owe it all to your team. Now I’ll never be afraid to fly again: it’s a miracle!"

"I was skeptical at first. Being on a plane for more than two hours was impossible for me. Fifteen days after completing the workshop, I took a 4-hour flight and everything went well—I even enjoyed it. The workshop crew addresses your specific needs, guaranteeing personalized results. Thank you so much!"

"Thank you to the amazing workshop crew. My flight from Nice to San Francisco went rather smoothly. While I did experience some stress at the beginning of the flight, I was able to control my anxiety thanks to the techniques the relaxation therapist taught me during the workshop. I was also less sensitive to the plane's motion. I wouldn't say I was completely relaxed, but given how long my flight was, I definitely saw improvement in my peace of mind that I will carry with me on future flights. Thank you!" ​

Customer Feedback

We recommend taking the course as close to a scheduled flight as possible. Our workshops typically fill up three months in advance, but we offer a waiting list to best accommodate your planned air travel. Here are some insights from a survey we conducted with attendees in 2019 and 2020.

Upon registering to the workshop, attendees expected to:

  • Gain peace of mind (32%)
  • Feel comfortable getting on or off the aircraft (26%)
  • Understand in-flight safety measures (23%)
  • Understand how airplanes fly, what turbulence is, etc. (17%)
  • Be able to fly without the help of medication, alcohol, etc. (16%)(*)

After the workshop, most attendees:

  • Felt that their expectations were met (91%)
  • Would recommend the workshop to friends and family (96%)
  • Believed the workshop had significantly improved their relationship to flying (80%)
  • Took at least one flight since their course (83%), with a very balanced distribution between :
    • short-haul (34%),
    • medium-haul (31%),
    • and long-haul (34%)(**)

(*) Several answers possible
(**) In 2020, lockdowns prevented some customers from carrying out their travel plans.​



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