SkyGuru Review: The App That’ll Help You Overcome A Fear Of Flying

Boring disclaimer bit: I haven’t been paid in any way for this review, though the lovely people at SkyGuru did provide me with a free copy . All opinions and recommendations are most definitely my own! Now, on to the fun bit!

woman sitting on plane looking out of window

Travel App Reviews: SkyGuru

30% of people suffer from  a fear of flying – pretty high, right? And until fairly recently, I definitely counted in the 30%.

After all, there’s quite a few reasons to be nervous about flying (or to give it its proper name, aviophobia). You’re in a metal tube, travelling at abut 500mph, 38,000 feet above the ground. There is a yawning abyss below you. Although it happens rarely, planes have crashed due to technical or human error. You can be the most experienced traveller out there, and still feel a frisson of fear in the pit of your stomach when you step on the plane.

My first flight was when I was 8 years old. Not the most practical child, I remember really looking forward to going on my first foreign holiday, but not really giving much thought as to how I was going to get there. When my parents and my brother and I got to the departure lounge of Gatwick Airport, they had large plate glass windows which allowed to to watch the planes take off and land.

Apparently, I turned a rather interesting shade of green.

It’s something that’s never really gone away. Even though I’ve done some quite long flights, the anxiety about trusting my life to a piece of machinery has been ever-present. I even cancelled a trip a week before departure, losing an eye-watering total of £1500, mostly because the anxiety about the flight was so overwhelming.  As you can see, I am something of an expert in aviophobia, despite travel being one of the main loves of my life.

view from plane

SkyGuru: A pilot in your pocket

If you suffer from a fear of flying, what can you do about it?

Some people turn to hypnotherapy; others will consider courses run by airlines. However, both of these options can be quite expensive. I don’t doubt that they work, but if you’re on a budget, it’s easy to be put off by the cost. Plus, there’s always that doubt in your mind that maybe you’ll be fine on the course, but what about the flights afterwards? Will you be able to remember what you learnt, and have the mental discipline to put it into practise?

So imagine this: if you could be guaranteed to sit with a pilot on every flight you took, and they could calmly explain to you what was going on during your flight, would that make you feel less nervous? If they could tell you “we’re going to dip a bit in a minute, but it’s totally normal”, would that make you calmer when it happened? (speaking for myself, that’s usually when I grab the chair in front of my in a death-grip.)

I think we can all agree that one of the main causes of fear is a lack of information. We don’t know why something is happening, and it instantly makes us wary of it – it’s a survival instinct. If you’re informed, the fear is eased, or eradicated completely.

And that was what drew me to SkyGuru.

skyguru flight review fear of slying

How does SkyGuru work?

As soon as I found the SkyGuru app, I knew that I had to try it and review it. And I’m so glad I did.

Although my anxiety has been improving in leaps and bounds thanks to a kickass anxiety course, the fear of flying is a hard one to conquer, and I’ll take any help I can get. The beauty of SkyGuru is that it’s just like the situation I described above, with a pilot explaining everything that’s going on, but that pilot is on your mobile phone. And unlike a CD or podcast, which can only give you a generic reassurance as you listen to it, the app uses the sensors on your mobile phone to measure and listen to everything that’s going on in the plane, and let you know about it.

skyguru review advice

And before you ask – yes, it works in airplane mode!

SkyGuru was developed by Alex Gervash, an Israeli pilot and psychologist with over 22 years of flying experience, who also runs courses to help beat flying anxiety. So if anyone’s going to be clued up on what you need to know to help you relax, it’s him! The app also uses professional aviation data, which it accesses and uploads to your phone before takeoff, to make the information it gives you completely accurate for your individual flight. No generic reassurances here; this is tailor-made information for what is happening to you in that exact moment.

So let’s look at some of the specific functions.

Pre-flight help

If you’re getting nervous in the build up to the flight, then you’re in luck – SkyGuru will do it’s best to put your mind at rest before you even set out. You can add your flight to the app 24 hours in advance (don’t be tempted to do it sooner); you can then download a fear-busting video from Alex Gervash, or just check out the info that SkyGuru is already giving you – it’ll analyse your flight to advise on which seat to pick once you’re on the plane, and if there’s any possible delays.

skyguru review video

Real-time turbulence forecast

For a lot of aviophobics, turbulence is the factor which really triggers your fears. No-one likes that sensation of being bounced around, or even worse, when you feel like the plane is dropping. SkyGuru takes a look at professional aviation weather forecasts for the route you’ll be flying, and has it up-to-date just before you put your phone into airplane mode. Because it can monitor your position and altitude, it’ll warn you of turbulence before it even happens, and explain why it’s happening, and how it’s completely safe.

Weather information

As I mentioned above, SkyGuru reviews the weather situation for your route on that day. If you’re flying into an area with adverse weather, or you’re simply worried about high winds, ice etc are going to affect your flight, the app can inform you on how it’ll change your flight experience.

skyguru review weather

Sounds and feelings

SkyGuru uses the technology of your phone to its advantage (it’s amazing how much your phone can still do when it’s in airplane mode!), particularly in regards to the sensors. It can listen to what’s going on around it, and therefore advise you on any sounds or sensations that might be alarming. It can also monitor the altitude and bearing of the plane, so if there’s any turns or banking, it’ll let you know why it’s happening, and take the mystery away.

Sounds good in theory! How does it work in practise?

Answer: very well indeed!

I decided to try out the app on my flight from London Southend (SEN) to Amsterdam (AMS). I was nervous about this flight even though it’s incredibly short, so it seemed an excellent opportunity to give it a go!

The app correctly showed everything as being on time before departure (as I entered my flight number in the airport with my sweaty paws), though we took off a little late. This wasn’t a problem at all, however; the app was excellent at measuring which stage of the flight the aircraft was currently at. I discovered that in the event of the app getting a little ahead of itself, it’s very easy to correct it by tapping a menu and choosing which stage you’re at, such as “Taxiing”, “Take Off” etc. You need to hold your phone on a level so that it can properly measure your altitude, but I found this very easy to do (once the flight is underway, pop it on the fold-down table).

skyguru review gate

One of my favourite moments came when we were taxiing. Sitting behind me, I had three lads who were your typical Amsterdam weekenders (I’m not sure that they were going for the museums and cultural experiences, let’s put it that way). They were pretty rowdy all the while during boarding and taxiing, until a loud noise filled the cabin: a metallic whoof whoof whoof grating noise, and I could hear the lads immediately go a bit quieter. One of them said “is it meant to make that noise?” in a quieter voice, and his friends didn’t know either. I, however, glanced down at SkyGuru and saw that it was the plane’s hydraulics system, and was completely normal. It even described it perfectly, as sounding like a barking dog. This was great, as I’m pretty certain that it was something that I would’ve worried about otherwise!

During the flight, the app worked perfectly, and I was impressed by how responsive it was to what was happening. We experienced some slight bumping straight after takeoff, and SkyGuru immediately informed me that it was due to the sky being very clear (which actually creates more turbulence than clouds). It also occasionally reminded me to relax, and to control my own reactions.

skyguru review turbulence

It also kept me informed about conditions at my destination. This was great, because it was snowing at Amsterdam Schiphol when I arrived, but the app reassured me that landing conditions were absolutely normal. And so it proved!

skyguru review landing

Do I recommend SkyGuru for anxious travellers?

100% YES.

The app worked absolutely flawlessly. It kept me informed, and dispelled any fears before I even had them, and its ability to correctly identify which stage of the flight I was on and respond accordingly was genuinely impressive. I also discovered that one (possibly!) unintended benefit of the app was that it kept me distracted – rather than worrying about what was going on around me, I was engaged in what the app was displaying. Rather than fearing the information, such as my altitude and speed, I was actually finding it pretty cool. It also gives you enough facts about general aviation that I was becoming interested in the process and aviation industry in general.

If anyone is going to criticise SkyGuru for anything, it’s probably that you have to pay to receive the full flight information, as opposed to the free ‘lite’ version. But, I wouldn’t agree with this. First, paying for the full version is completely worth it – at a cost of $19.99 (or local equivalent), it’s considerably cheaper than hypnotherapy or flight classes, and you’ve got it forever. But if you don’t want to commit to that, or you just want it as and when needed, you can buy individual flights for a very small cost. You’re paying for a good quality product.

I seriously advise anyone who suffers from flight anxiety or nerves to check out SkyGuru. To put it into perspective, I had zero fears on my return flight from Amsterdam, because I knew that I was going to be using the app. I landed back in the UK, and thought to myself “I’m actually looking forward to flying again soon”, and that is a massive, massive turnaround from my previous mindset.

SkyGuru is available for iOS and Android, download it here and let it help you change your life!

SkyGuru review - the app that'll help you overcome a fear of flying. Click and read our comprehensive, illustrated review, and see how you can be up and flying in no time! No-one should have to suffer through a fear of flying. https://thatanxioustraveller.com #travel #flying #app #fear

Suffer from a fear of flying? Tempted to try SkyGuru? Let me know below in the comments!

 

18 comments
  1. This is amazing! I had no idea an app like this existed. I especially like the real-time turbulence forecast because that is the single worst part of flying for me. (Like, I know turbulence is totally normal, but when it happens I’m always 95% certain I’m going to die.) I will be checking this app out right now!

    1. It’s such a feeling of panic when turbulence strikes!! The app definitely helps with anticipating it, and not being nervous about it!

  2. This is genius. Seriously, not all heroes wear capes!! Thank you so much for writing about this as despite now travelling full time I am still scared of flying and had no idea something like this existed! It does seem rather futuristic that it an listen to your surroundings, but something I’d so rather try than medicine (or a few large pinot grigios which is my usual solution!) 100% trying this on my next flight!!

    1. Ha, the pinots are always a tempting method! 😉 But in seriousness, I agree – I’ll always try to avoid an artificial solution, such as medicine or alcohol, when it’s so much more beneficial and long-term successful to teach yourself the reasons behind what’s making you scared. The app is definitely my new hero!

  3. Wow, unbelievable! I had no idea something like that existed! I am not really afraid of flying, I fly a lot and I trust the pilots, but I admit that sometimes, when the turbulence is harsh, stewards sit strapped in seats and there is absolute silence, I wonder – what is really happening? I guess this app could help with that!

    1. Yes, even if your fear of flying isn’t too bad, it’s actually just quite interesting to learn what’s going on in the plane, in a technical sense! I found myself getting quite intrigued!

  4. That sounds like a great app, and I know someone close to home who might well appreciate it. Plus for people like me, who absolutely love the sensation of flight, the running commentary on what is happening would be fascinating too.

    1. Definitely; I hope it helps! 🙂 Plus there’s a nice feeling of being ‘in the know’ when everyone else around you is asking “is it meant to make that noise?” 😀

  5. I’m so lucky that I’ve been flying longhaul since before I can even remember, having taken my first long flight as a small baby. So I’m not much scared at all. But I have quite a few friends who are and will recommend this to them, anything that can help is welcome!

    1. Ahhh brilliant, I hope it helps them! Feel free to pass the article along to them, and let them know that they can contact me either through the site, or through Twitter if they have any questions from someone who’s used it – I’d be happy to answer as well as I can! 🙂

  6. I have a friend who might just benefit from this app. Great tip!

    1. I really hope it helps! It’s such an awful feeling to feel cut off from travelling, purely because of a fear of flight.

  7. This is amazing! I’ve never even heard of it but it sounds incredible. I was DEFINITELY in the 30% but I’ve managed to overcome it now by basically watching every plane show out there in history and now I feel like I probably build a plane hahaha. Knowledge is power for sure!

    1. DEFINTELY. If you know what to expect, everything is so much less frightening. I began to really enjoy my flight, which has never happened before!

  8. What a neat app. I had no idea this even existed. WhileI don’t have a fear of flying, I still think this is a great way to keep yourself aware about uour flight. Love this!

    1. Yes, it’s really informative! And quite fun to see all the little details like your height, speed, etc.

  9. That is a pretty smart app. Luckily, I don’t have flight anxiety but I can see how it would help people that do. Going to pass this on to a friend.

    1. Oo, please do! I’m in favour of anything that gets people out there and travelling, and this worked so well for me!

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