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Flight Turbulence: What Is It, And What Should You Do As A Passenger?

A Singapore Airlines aircraft recently encountered severe turbulence, resulting in the death of a passenger and injuries to 30 others. Passengers aboard Flight 321, a Boeing 777-312ER, flying from London to Singapore, described the turbulence as a terrifying experience. 

What is air turbulence?

Air turbulence is an irregular and unpredictable movement of air within the Earth’s atmosphere. It can occur during flights and is often felt as sudden jolts or bumps experienced by aircraft flyers. 

What to do in case of air turbulence?

1. Always wear your seatbelt. Keep it fastened, even if the sign is off, while seated to stay safe.

2. Follow the instructions of crew members. Listen to them, they are trained to handle turbulence.

3. Avoid moving around the cabin during turbulence and stay seated.

4. Make sure your belongings or loose items are safely secured to prevent them from flying around.

5. Store your items securely in overhead compartments to avoid spills or falls.

6. Be calm. Turbulence is normal; stay relaxed and avoid panicking.

7. If you have to use the restroom, wait for a calm moment before getting up, and use handrails for stability. 

Air turbulence: Causes

Turbulence can be caused by atmospheric conditions such as thunderstorms, jet streams, or changes in air pressure. Experts believe air turbulence is becoming more frequent due to changes in climate patterns caused by climate change. While severe turbulence events remain rare, pilots are trained to handle them effectively.

Captain Chris Hammond, a retired pilot with 43 years of experience, explained to the BBC how they respond to such a situation. Their first step is to make or think of an announcement “that won’t upset the passengers too much.” 

He explained, “If you can see it coming, you can take it leisurely,” before adding that they keep their fingers crossed in case of clear air turbulence. (Clear air turbulence occurs in cloudless skies and cannot be seen).