New Virgin Atlantic iPhone app helps people with a fear of flying

I suffer from serious anxiety while flying. I’ve tried learning about the mechanics of flight, popping Xanax, I’ve even taken a flight lesson in an effort to cure my fear. Sometimes I can stay calm, but on other flights, for apparently no reason, I’ll suddenly have a panic attack. It’s more than a small problem.

For people like me, Virgin Atlantic has created a new iPhone app based on their Flying without Fear class. According to a press release, their course has a 98% success rate for helping fearful flyers cope. The iPhone app takes elements of the course (which recently helped Whoopi Goldberg manage her fear) and offers a mobile solution for use during the flight. Passengers can watch a video explanation of how planes work, read answers to frequently asked questions, and follow along with deep breathing and relaxation techniques.

There’s also a “fear attack” button for emergencies. The problem with that idea being, of course, that when I truly panic – shaking and hyperventilating – I don’t really have the capacity to hit my fear button and read and process the information. I’m too busy trying not to cry. But perhaps reviewing the information beforehand might help if a moment of panic strikes.

The Flying without Fear course usually costs about $350; the iPhone app is $4.99 in the iTunes store. Even if the app only helps a little, it sounds like a sound investment to me.

Guilt and fear: balancing vacations, work and getting away with either

People are nervous. They’re afraid to appear unnecessary in a market where employees are being shed regularly. The strain is brutal. We’re all “doing more with less,” which increases stress and compounds the need for a break. If you decide to take that vacation, you have two options: look valuable or be valuable.

Looking valuable is tough. Skillful deceit is necessary to create the various digital smokescreens that will conceal your revelry and inspire awe and sympathy in your colleagues. The trick is to enjoy every minute of your trip but look like you’ve pissed the entire experience away for the sake of supporting your colleagues back home. Done properly, you recharge your batteries and get credit for commitment. One misstep, however, can show that you’re nothing but an opportunist.

Tread lightly.

Of course, there’s a group of people out there who would never try merely to appear productive. Why? They are – they’re machines. Vacations don’t exist, and these folks try to stretch the work day by every minute they can scrounge. Bosses may love this quality, but spouses and kids don’t. You’ll need a ruse, and getting caught can cost you.

Don’t worry, Gadling‘s here to help.

Between my own experiences as both a workaholic and a shameless corporate actor and those of the Gadling team, be ready for tk days of advice on how to be who you want to be. The first two days will help you be a better screw-off, enjoying your vacation while looking like Mr. Corporate America. The two days after that – we’ll help you look like you’ve put your family first without neglecting they guy who signs your paycheck.

Along the way, drop a comment with your ideas. We’re all in this wretched recession together, after all.