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Spring break travel: The science behind turbulence

Posted by Scott Stueber on Mar 17, 2015 8:19:35 AM


If you live in an area of the country that experiences cold and snow, signs of spring are a welcome sight. This is also the time of year many families put the finishing touches on their spring break trips. After surviving another winter, this is like a rite of passage.

While spring break and other vacations throughout the year are exciting, for many people there’s always a bit of nervousness. For me the nervousness is around flying. I know flying is a safe and efficient way to travel. However, what about that unexpected turbulence?

To ease my nerves, and hopefully yours, too, I decided to dedicate this blog to flying and tips to help you enjoy your next flight. In searching for information on turbulence, I found an article titled, “Turbulence: Everything You Need to Know” by Patrick Smith. Patrick is an active airline pilot, blogger, and author of several books. He’s appeared on many radio and television stations.

The article talks about:

  • The amount of turbulence a plane can handle;
  • Turbulence being a nuisance more than a safety issue;
  • A typical conversation between pilots experiencing turbulence;
  • The smoothest place to sit on a plane; and
  • Precautions taken to try to avoid turbulence.

Below are some helpful video resources I found.

If you're still not convinced flying is safe, here are some facts to think about.

  1. Over six percent of the population have a fear of flying, so you’re not alone.
  2. The only thing safer than air travel is riding on an escalator or in an elevator.
  3. Driving to the airport to catch your flight is more dangerous than the flight itself.
  4. The likelihood of being in an aircraft accident is 1 in 11 million.

Here are some tips to help you relax on your next flight.

  1. Take deep breaths. While breathing is natural, there are times we need to focus on our breathing. Deep breathing is very beneficial when we encounter different emotions in our life. Focusing on breathing can help our bodies relax, as well as take our minds off whatever is causing the stress. 
  2. Drink plenty of water. No matter what you do in life, staying hydrated is important. Whether you’re running a race or getting ready to fly, it’s important to drink plenty of water and to avoid caffeine. If you’re a nervous flyer, caffeine can make it worse.
  3. Take along a good pair of headphones. If all the sounds in a plane make it hard to relax, take along a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and listen to your favorite music, book, or watch a movie.
  4. Get a seat assignment near the front. If you fly regularly, you’ve probably earned a seat assignment in the back of the plane. Let me tell you, there’s nothing relaxing about the smells and sounds in the back of a plane.
  5. Challenge yourself. Instead of letting fear dictate your life, challenge yourself to overcome it. Consider reading books about flying, taking a class, or seeking professional help. The more you avoid fear, the more powerful and debilitating it will become.
  6. Visualize your trip. Visualize your entire trip in your mind, such as the drive to the airport, going through security, and landing and takeoff. When the day of travel arrives, you’ll be ready to go with confidence

For more tips on staying safe and enjoying, spring break, check out these blogs.

"10 tips to help you enjoy spring break"

"Protect your family before going on a trip"


Topics: Travel

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