Should we be afraid of turbulence? We debunk 5 myths to ease your worries

“Oh no, we’re going to fall!”

Many plane passengers have had these panicked thoughts when the aircraft is hit by turbulence.  Turbulence has several causes–but essentially, it happens because of factors in the weather, atmosphere, and physical environment.  

Whenever an airplane shakes or makes sudden movements during the flight, the cabin crew usually explains it as turbulence. Still, there will be distressed passengers who will feel anxious or even terrified.

But don’t cancel your flight just yet! We debunk these five common myths about air turbulence, so you can chill out and enjoy your flight.

Myth # 1

Severe turbulence can tear apart an airplane

Today’s aircrafts are designed with many safety features to protect against turbulence. For example the Boeing 787 is built with wings that are designed to flex. The pilot in charge should know how to change the speed and altitude to give passengers a smoother ride.

Myth # 2

It’s okay to unfasten your seat belt

Because air turbulence can arrive without warning, it can be risky for anyone who isn’t buckled in. Passengers who aren’t wearing their seatbelts might be thrown from their seats, injuring themselves as well as the others. Just because the ride isn’t bumpy now doesn’t mean the next time won’t be. Always wear your seatbelt, with or without air turbulence.

Myth # 3

Pilots have a warning device about air turbulence

SPOILER ALERT: There isn’t any device to warn pilots that they are approaching turbulence. It can’t be detected by radar.  The warning usually comes from an aircraft flying ahead at the same altitude reporting to the nearest air traffic control. Pilots can change altitude or speed up to anticipate and avoid it.

Myth# 4

Turbulence may cause the airplane to crash

Turbulence will not cause a plane crash. So don’t freak out–panic inside the aircraft will only increase the risk of chaos and injuries. The pilot usually knows what to do to fly through and out of the turbulence safely–it may feel scary because of the sudden movements and the shaking but it will eventually pass.

Myth #5

People get injured by turbulence

Yes, there is a chance of injury–but only if you are not buckled in your seat. So it’s best to keep wearing your seatbelt during the flight.

When turbulence happens, stay chill and let the pilot handle it. Make sure you are wearing your seatbelt and do not get out of your seat until the turbulence passes. For more aircraft safety tips, visit WCC.


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