June 13, 2024

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Flight attendants talk about how to stay safe during severe turbulence

Flight attendants talk about how to stay safe during severe turbulence

How to stay safe during turbulent times in the sky.

While the fatal turbulence incident involving Singapore Airlines was extremely rare, passengers should remain vigilant while flying. Fortunately, aviation experts have recently revealed some important tips on how to keep passengers safe if their plane hits severe turbulence in the air.

During Tuesday’s catastrophic accident, a 73-year-old British grandfather was killed and more than 30 others were injured after Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 encountered severe turbulence — plummeting to 6,000 feet and sending unrestrained passengers into the overhead bins.

As a result, the plane, which was traveling from London to Singapore, was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok.

The interior of Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 after an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, May 21, 2024. Reuters

To avoid injuries caused by turbulence – or even severe discomfort – aviation gurus advise passengers to pay attention to the most frequently repeated rule in aviation: fasten your seat belt while seated.

“Unless you’re tethered, if the plane goes down, you’re going to come up,” Terry Tozer, a pilot with 20 years under his belt, said. He told the Daily Mail. “So the key is to keep your belt up.”

He added: “I never sit there without wearing a seat belt.” I can’t see why you would do that.

While the captain admitted that this is difficult on a long-haul flight – where passengers and crew are on their feet a bit – strapping himself in when seated can help mitigate the risks.

“If you’re not tethered, if the plane goes down, you’re going to come up,” said Terry Tozer, a pilot with 20 years of experience. Atstock Productions – Stock.adobe.com

Passengers can also ensure their safety by choosing their seats wisely. Tozer suggests sitting in the middle of the plane to reduce the effects of turbulence.

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“The plane is hanging by its wings, so think of the rest as a starting point,” the pilot explained. “The place where you’ll feel turbulence is above the wing.”

As for the designated seat, sitting next to the window is the safest as the passenger is less likely to be hit by falling luggage from the overhead bin during a bumpy ride.

“Consider using a window seat to avoid placing it directly under the overhead compartments, which can open during heavy turbulence,” warned Nikki Kelvin, editor of travel site Points Guy.

He also advised staying away from the galley because it is full of objects that could become projectiles if the plane experiences turbulence.

Flight attendants advise squirming in your seats with the turbulence to mitigate its effects. diy13 – Stock.adobe.com

Interestingly, the middle seats at the back of a plane are the safest place during accidents, as they carry a fatality rate of just 28%, according to a TIME analysis of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data over 35 years. They were safer than mid-cabin aisle seats, which had a 44% fatality rate.

Besides exploring safe havens, passengers should also know what to do in case of weather turbulence. Aviation experts advise moving in time with turbulence by jiggling one’s seat, an amazing technique used by crew members.

“When turbulence hits, just pretend you’re jelly or drenched in jelly,” a flight attendant named Taylor advised in a TikTok video posted by TPG editor Kelvin. “Wiggle in your seat like a little jellyfish; you’ll feel so much better.”

This countermeasure may seem counterintuitive, but by moving with the plane’s movement, passengers can reduce its impact, just like rolling with a punch.

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Passengers can also check forecasts of turbulence on their route using Turply.comWhich shows the expected bumps in the road via interactive maps.

Fortunately, incidents like the Singapore Airlines tragedy are “very, very rare,” according to Tozer.

“I’ve only encountered a turbulence that gave us a level change of two thousand feet on one occasion in a career spanning twenty years or so,” he said. “The turbulence from the thunderstorm activity lifted it 1,000 feet, and then we came down 1,000 feet.”

“And it wasn’t as bad as the Singapore Airlines event.”