Pass with flying colours
AUSTRALIANS love to travel.
In 2016, 9.9 million Australian residents left our borders for adventures abroad, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Domestically, 59.36 million passengers travelled in the year ending July, 2017, up 1.6 per cent on the previous year.
But despite this and the flood of travel pictures on social media, there are many who can not bear the thought of boarding a plane.
Attadale resident Valerie Arrowsmith was one of those people.
Extreme turbulence on her return to Perth from Sydney 15 years ago triggered her fear of flying.
In the past, staff would coax her on to planes and reassure her everything was safe, but there were times her anxiety was so bad she backed out of holidays even after arriving at the airport.
“The last few weeks leading up to a flight, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep,” she said. “I couldn’t look forward to holidays because just getting on to planes was so stressful.”
Aviophobia is not uncommon, with some estimating as many as one in four experience a little anxiety to incapacitating fear about travelling by plane.
To manage her fear, Ms Arrowsmith recently completed the Fear of Flying course at Flight Experience in Northbridge.
It involved a combination of face-toface consultation with a psychologist, flight education and a Boeing 737 flight simulator to mimic the experience of air travel.
Director Peter Chin, a former captain with Emirates and a Qantas first officer with more than 30 years of flying experience, said results had been positive.
“The course is designed to give people confidence and the tools they need to reduce their anxiety levels associated with air travel,” he said.
“Many report their anxiety levels drop by as much as 50 per cent.”
Ms Arrowsmith said the course had helped her, with successful visits to Singapore and Koh Samui earlier this year and a visit to London planned for 2018.
“I was a little nervous but nothing compared to past experiences,” she said.
For information, visit www.perth.flight experience.com.au.
Flight Experience director Peter Chin with Attadale resident Valerie Arrowsmith.