Afraid of Flying? There's an App for That

Afraid of Flying? Theres an App for That

If a fear of flying keeps you grounded, Virgin Atlantic has a new iPhone application just for you.

Launched this week in partnership with developer Mental Workout, the new application is based on (and named after) the airline's Flying Without Fear course, which the company says has a 98 percent success rate.

The application, available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, includes relaxation and fear therapy exercises, frequently asked questions and a video that explains a flight from start to finish.

It even features a "fear attack button" for emergencies, with breathing exercises and quick tips.

"Our first iPhone app will bring the benefits of our successful Flying Without Fear course to millions of people around the world who are now using mobile technology to make their lives better," Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic's president, said in a statement. "The app will put many travelers at ease and enable them to prepare for their first Virgin Atlantic flight."

At $4.99, the it's on the pricier side for iPhone applications. But as proof that the app is based on a sound program, Virgin Atlantic said its Flying Without Fear course recently helped Whoopi Goldberg overcome her fear of flying.

"The program works, I was a skeptic. I hadn't flown in 13 years but after doing their program, I understood that while my fear was real, there were many things I didn't know or had misinformation about, which they were able to clear up," the actress said in a statement. "So what happened? I now fly. It's that simple."

Virgin Atlantic is hardly alone in joining the iPhone app rush. There are about 85,000 applications -- from the silly to the serious -- for the iPod Touch and iPhone.

Here is a sampling:

Win a Car With New VW Application?

Play an iPhone game, win a car? It sounds too good to be true.

But to launch its new 2010 GTI hatchback, Volkswagen is relying solely on a free iPhone game. If you play it, you could win one of six limited-edition GTI models.

Available in Apple's App Store starting today, Volkswagen of America, Inc.'s Real Racing GTI App challenges players to race virtual GTIs around a racetrack. The more you play, the more points you build up. And each week for six weeks, the company will reward the week's top player with his or her own real car.

As they compete, players can share videos of their game play with friends on YouTube. They can also carry the competition over to Twitter and send messages to other players.

In an effort to reach a young, tech-savvy demographic, Volkswagen hopes the iPhone and iPod Touch will be more effective than traditional Web and TV ads.

"With the personalization of media and the challenges inherent with reaching constantly connected consumers, we tasked ourselves to rethink the way we launch vehicles in order to engage our consumers in a meaningful way," Tim Ellis, vice president of marketing for Volkswagen of America, Inc., said in a statement. "Launching the all-new 2010 GTI via the Real Racing GTI App allows us to connect with this savvy GTI consumer within his or her everyday life in a way that no 30-second spot ever could."

Volkswagen isn't the first to use an iPhone application to launch a product. The sports clothing company PUMA has released an iPhone app to promote its new line of bodywear. And, earlier this month, Pepsi released a controversial app that claimed to help men "score" with women to help generate buzz around its new energy drink.

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