This is a look into how nervous flyers can get the best out of the new Mentour Pilot App and Aidan, the app’s artificial intelligence tool.
About the Author
Suzanne Duke is a doctoral-level developmental psychologist who began her career working with young children and then with university students, particularly helping first-year students adjust to college life and living away from home. She is also a social worker and particularly enjoys treating anxiety disorders, such as fear of flying!
The last few months have been exciting for the Mentour Pilot (MP) website, which is undergoing changes to best serve the evolving needs of the MP community. One particular area of interest for the fearful flyers discussion series is how features of the remodeled website can better serve those suffering from flight anxiety than was previously possible. In this article, we explore these features in more detail, specifically those related to Aidan, MP’s new artificial intelligence (AI) tool.
A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF AIDAN: WHAT IS IT AND WHY WOULD NERVOUS FLYERS USE IT?
To begin, let’s start with some basic definitions. What is Aidan and why might it prove extremely useful in dealing with flight anxiety? First, Aidan is an AI tool able to immediately provide highly accurate information about a range of topics, from flight tracking and weather forecasts to more complex psychological queries from nervous flyers submitted by nervous flyers. In providing detailed, non-judgmental answers to any queries, Aidan’s existence is predicated on the “knowledge is power” model. In other words, fear about a phenomenon is often grounded in a lack of knowledge or misunderstanding about the topic. Taking a step further, one way to decrease fear is to provide information about the topic, therefore taking the overall mystery out of it.
Using knowledge to combat fear can be helpful for a few reasons. First, it provides the fearful flyer a sense of control around his or her fears, thus potentially decreasing the overall fear. This makes some intuitive sense, right? Often what we fear is what we do not understand. It follows, then, that in providing information around a specific anxiety, the anxiety no longer holds a sense of control over us.
Gaining knowledge about fearful subjects also helps combat the associated fear by simply validating that it has some amount of reason. Specifically, if the existence and level of alarm can be conceptualized and verbalized, then it can be tackled. This does not mean that taking on the fear is easy, but just knowing that such trepidation can be put into words for Aidan to consider inherently makes you feel less alone in having this fear in the first place.
SPECIFIC WAYS AIDAN CAN ASSIST NERVOUS FLYERS
Now that we understand at least two “big picture” ways (i.e., a sense of control and a feeling of validation) that Aidan can help nervous flyers, let’s consider some concrete ways nervous flyers can use Aidan to their advantage. First, as mentioned above, Aidan can provide users with data about basic but potentially alarm-inducing parts of their flight. Specifically, Aidan can provide flight tracking and current weather information about an upcoming flight as well as the likely route the plane is likely to take and even the specific aircraft the airline has scheduled for this particular flight.
Such information can be quite helpful in decreasing flight anxiety in that it allows passengers to be extra-prepared for potential stressors during their flight. If you are particularly nervous about turbulence and already know that you are likely to experience some turbulence on your upcoming flight, you might think about your best coping strategies and pack accordingly.
For example, perhaps you deal best with turbulence by listening to music during the bumpiest parts of your flight. Therefore, you might bring more downloaded music than you were intending so that you are ready to bust out your phone and headphones when the turbulence starts. Other nervous flyers find themselves particularly stressed by flight delays. No problem – Aidan is also able to give you information as to whether your flight on a specific day is going to be delayed, thus allowing you to be psychologically ready for a delay when it is announced.
Aidan is also a remarkable AI tool when it comes to asking questions specifically related to flight anxiety. For example, nervous flyers can “ask Aidan” any question they can think of about flying and factors that might trigger flight anxiety, and Aidan has (in my opinion) some remarkably helpful, informative answers. I will openly admit, as a trained therapist, I was initially very skeptical about the ability of an AI chatbot to provide informative, empathic responses to fear-of-flying questions.
That said, I really put it to the test by asking Aidan some pretty tough questions with high expectations for acceptable answers. For example, posing as a nervous flyer, I asked Aidan a series of detailed questions about what to do when I felt my anxiety was so severe I was about to have a panic attack during flight (a common fear among nervous flyers). Amazingly, Aidan’s responses were consistently accurate, thoughtful, and not unlike ones an experienced clinician might provide either in person or through a technological connection.
I strongly encourage nervous flyers to start using the new MP app and its myriad of features to help manage their flight anxiety. The new app really indicates to me that there is a place for AI in the fear-of-flying space, and it feels like this is only the beginning of a burgeoning relationship among aviation, mental health, and technology. If you are a nervous flyer and want to try using the new MP app or have already used it, do not hesitate to leave a comment below about your experience(s). And, as always, you can contact me directly at [email protected] if you have any thoughts or questions. I look forward to hearing from you!
Previous articles in this series:
- 5 Strategies To Decrease Your Flight Anxiety
- What Exactly IS Aviophobia?
- How and Why Do People Develop a Fear of Flying?
- The Best Ways To Treat Your Fear of Flying?
- Use Medications, Alcohol to Control Flight Anxiety?
- What If My Child is Afraid of Flying?
- Why Does No One Smell Jet Fuel Except Me? (1/2)
- Why Does No One Smell Jet Fuel Except Me? (2/2)
- Managing Media Impact Concerning Aviation News