Flying can be stressful at the best of times and occasionally, we also have to deal with the unavoidable discomfort of turbulence.
Try to enjoy your cup of hot tea or coffee during rough air and you’re likely to get more in your lap or on the floor.
The effects of mild turbulence can be diminished if you know where to sit on a plane. Select your seat early and you’ll be ahead of the game.
What is turbulence?
The first thing to note is that turbulence is completely normal and nothing to be fearful of. Like driving to work each day, you will encounter the occasional bump in the road. The same goes for flying. As aircraft push their way through the air, they are flying through the jet stream (like a super highway in the sky). Sometimes these highways cross paths, and when the conflicting air movements meet, it can cause turbulence.
The best place to sit on an aircraft during turbulence is over the wing. The wings act as stabilisers giving passengers in the middle of the plane a smoother ride. For an even more comfortable ride, try to reserve a seat in the over wing window exit where greater leg room equates to more personal space. With more space, flying during turbulent conditions becomes that little bit less stressful.
Occupying a window seat may not help with the effects of turbulence, but it can reduce the chances of injury when objects like baggage, drinks trolleys, or yes, even people, start flying around the cabin; as rare as this is.
As good a job as cabin crews do in making sure that people and objects remain secured, stowed and buckled in at all times, there is the potential for falling objects in unexpected moderate or severe turbulence.
While these types of injuries are very rare, the potential is there when encountering ‘smooth air turbulence,’ a type of buffeting that cannot be detected by the pilots’ advanced computer and weather monitoring systems.
Select your seat ahead of time
Of course, every airline and aircraft will have a different seat configuration, but finding the best seats in advance is a breeze with seatguru.com. This online service provides cabin configurations for almost every major airline in the world across their multiple aircraft types.
Check what aircraft type you’re on when making your booking to help find the right seat map. If you’re not sure what the aircraft type is, simply call your airline to confirm or check with your travel agent or person that made the booking.
Best way to protect yourself during turbulence
The only sure way to protect yourself against turbulence wherever you sit is by having your seat belt secured at all times when seated. Even on a smooth flight and a clear day, turbulence can be encountered at any time unexpectedly.
A final tip, if sleeping, make sure your seatbelt is fastened on the outside of your blanket so the flight attendants don’t have to wake you when the seat belt sign comes on.