Pass with fly­ing colours

Melville Times - - NEWS -

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 ex­pe­ri­

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d474321

Flight Ex­pe­ri­ence di­rec­tor Peter Chin with Attadale res­i­dent Va­lerie Ar­row­smith.

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