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Climate change is making clear-air turbulence more common, translating into bumpier flights – you know, those moments when unexpectedly more than the plane is flying. Flight routes in the US and North Atlantic witnessed the most significant increases, but Europe, the Middle East, and the South Atlantic also saw their fair share of turbulence, mainly attributable to differences in wind speed. In air travel, turbulence is a major source of anxiety. Passengers feel helpless as the aeroplane suddenly drops a few feet, and they can’t predict or influence the outcome. It can be shocking even for seasoned, confident travellers.

If you’re the least bit anxious about flying, chances are turbulence is the most dreaded part of the travel experience for you. It’s not a big issue, but that uneasy stomach feeling sucks. One minute, the flight goes smoothly, and the next thing you know, the plane bumps and shakes in all directions; turbulence can be severe enough to throw the plane out of control. Even if you manage to hold yourself through the take-off, you’re a goner the moment a bump hits. Now, how do you stay calm during a bumpy flight? 

Avoid Sitting in the Back of The Plane 

Turbulence is worse at the back of the plane, so choose your seat wisely. The closer you are to the aeroplane’s pivot point, the less severe the motion will seem – practically anywhere in the front is stable, and the seats right over the wing are as “rock solid” as you can get. You don’t have to sit in first class to avoid turbulence, just find a seat near the front or around the wings. Being proactive is the key to an enjoyable flight experience, so even on a routine flight to a city you’ve visited countless times before, be willing to spend a little more for the privilege of being able to choose your own seat. 

Travelling can be a sensory overload, so if you want to avoid a meltdown, sitting at the front will ensure a more serene experience because it’s quieter, as the loudest seats are behind the engines. Plus, you can get on and off the plane faster. Not all aeroplane seats are created equally, so if you’re not an AvGeek, you won’t know the difference until it’s too late. Before you hit purchase, think about the kind of aircraft that’s operating the flight. You won’t have the option to choose your seat without shelling out extra, meaning the airline will assign you an unclaimed seat when you check-in.   

Practice Meditation and Deep Breathing 

At first, meditation and deep breathing seem like such a huge time commitment, but as the days go by, you’ll carve out time and start noticing how much more easily handling things is. Being mindful of your breathing helps you stay calm during turbulence because it helps the amygdala in the brain avoid the fight or flight response, which triggers an acute stress response, so you can squash your nerves. Breathing techniques can be practised on their own to cultivate mindfulness, the corollary being that it doesn’t necessarily need to be paired with mindfulness. Take slow, gentle, deep breaths.

Fasten Your Seatbelt  

Wear your seatbelt even if landing or take-off isn’t imminent because turbulence can strike without warning, and it’s one of the leading causes of weather-related, non-fatal injuries on commercial airlines. Passengers can sue for burns, contusions, lacerations, or closed head injuries. Accidents are more often caused by luggage falling out of overhead bins that aren’t properly secured or flight attendants’ negligence, and the only remedy for the harm you’ve suffered is filing a personal injury lawsuit in court. If you have any questions, please visit The careless conduct of an airline employee can put the company on a legal hook, but other parties may be liable as well. 

To avoid injury caused by turbulence, buckle up, not just when the seatbelt light is on, to avoid neck strain or whiplash by hitting your head against the seat back or window. If you’re seated with your seatbelt on, there’s nothing to worry about. Even if it’s loosely fastened, the seatbelt is still practical, as it helps you avoid serious injury during strong turbulence. Unforeseen turbulence is a fairly regular event, so flying isn’t like sitting in a hotel: you’re travelling in a vehicle at 600 mph, and it’s best to keep your seatbelt on for the duration of the flight. 

Strike Up a Conversation 

If you have a debilitating fear of turbulence, anxiety becomes too much and affects your travel. As you continue to board planes, your fear only grows. Making small talk with another passenger can help you break away from the negative mood, so if you’re having a tough day, politely introduce yourself and break the ice with a joke (avoid anything controversial, rude, or offensive). You can help someone else who’s going through the same situation by talking about your travel destination or asking them what they intend to do upon arrival. 

Wrapping It Up 

According to the research, turbulence could double or even triple in the following decades if it continues to be exceptionally warm, and while severe to turbulence is extremely rare, it can happen, leaving crews with little time to react. Almost immediately after it hits, you’re thrown into the air, hitting the roof. Experiencing anxiety after such an event is normal, and recovery is possible, so you don’t need medication. Don’t drink alcohol while being on an aeroplane because it can make your turbulence anxiety worse – the same goes for caffeine, which can make you jittery. 

If your brain has anxious tendencies to begin with, the sensation of turbulence can make it difficult, if not impossible, to think rationally, preventing you from seeing things realistically. The swift winds can give the aeroplane a sudden jolt, injuring both passengers and crew members. The good news is that modern aircraft are equipped with sophisticated weather systems, so pilots can easily navigate around areas of turbulence.