Australian airline launches world's first opt-in nervous flyer programme
Virgin Australia aims to ease passenger anxiety with meditation, behind-the-scenes videos and positive affirmations
If you’re one of those passengers that gets nervous before a flight, then Virgin Australia has some good news for you.
The airline has launched a Nervous Flyers programme designed to let passengers self-identify as anxious flyers to receive extra support to cope with coming travel.
Passengers can discreetly register in the scheme when booking travel. Those who do so will then receive pre-departure reassurance, positive affirmations via text message and guidance on in-flight relaxation tips such as deep breathing and meditation.
More than 11 per cent of travellers experience high levels of nervousness related to flying, says Virgin Australia.
Boarding pass identifier
The airline is the first in the world to introduce such a programme. It has also created a special heart-shaped code that will be printed on the boarding passes of those registered so that cabin crew can check-up on those travellers during the flight.
“We understand that for some of our guests, flying can be nerve-racking and often they feel overwhelmed by the entire travel experience. Our research tells us more than 11 per cent of our guests experience high levels of nervousness about travelling, and that they want information and support to help them through their next flight,” said Stuart Aggs, acting chief operations officer at Virgin Australia.
Pre-departure flight support is designed to help relieve the anxiety that many people experience in the lead up to a flight. Experts believe this can often be worse than the flying itself.
Customers who opt-in will also get behind-the-scenes technical information about the airline's operations. Studies have shown that educating nervous flyers about a flight can help calm anxiety. Understanding how a plane flies, what turbulence is and the meaning of the various sounds during a normal flight can help ease nerves.
Armed with meditation techniques and know-how, passengers can then tune in to the airline’s in-flight entertainment system. Meditation tracks powered by Smiling Mind, one of the wellness leaders of Australia, are available to all passengers. The airline launched this offering last year when it flew the world’s first meditation-focused flight.
The nervous flyer service can be booked on all Virgin Australia flights but must be requested at least seven days before travel.
The programme is the first of its kind in the world. Similar schemes designed to help travellers relax when flying include British Airways' Flying with Confidence course that passengers can elect to take before travelling.
Emirates offers passengers meditation and wellness channels via its in-flight entertainment systems to aid in-flight relaxation.
Updated: August 26, 2019 04:02 PM