Innovation That Matters

Virgin Atlantic launches app to help fearful flyers

Travel & Tourism

How to broaden your customer base if you’re an airline? Remedy people who are too afraid to fly. Back in 1997, Virgin Atlantic started offering courses for fearful flyers. The courses—which are GBP 199 for a full-day session—are reputed to have an extremely high rate of success. Aiming to replicate that success for a much larger crowd of anxious travellers, Virgin Atlantic just launched its first iPhone app: Flying Without Fear. Following a personal introduction by Sir Richard Branson, the application covers much of the same ground as the in-person courses. Videos run through the in-flight experience, and extensive exercises cover topics like wing movement and turbulence. If struck by a wave of intense anxiety, users can click on the ‘fear attack button’ for a breathing exercise and other tips, along with Virgin’s reassuring words “This is natural. We know you’re scared. You will be ok.” The app sells for USD 4.99 and was developed in partnership with Mental Workout, which has also created applications that are meant to help people learn mindful awareness and overcome insomnia. As for Virgin Atlantic: besides increasing its pool of potential customers, it’s no secret that well-placed sympathy—the kind that’s sincere, not cynical—makes for excellent brand-building. The hard part is getting that right 😉



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