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The Most Turbulent Flight You've Ever Been On...  
User currently offlineSAA747 From South Africa, joined Apr 2002, 15 posts, RR: 0
Posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 15358 times:

I must say that turbulent flights really do make me nervous sometimes. I was flying from Durban to Johannesburg in South Africa a few months ago, on a 737, when we encountered some heavy turbulence. The plane really started shaking and rattling ! They already started serving breakfast and I was afraid that I would spill coffee all over myself ! The pilot then announced that he would climb to higher altitude in order to avoid the severe jetstreams. He then said that the passengers did not have to worry, the 737 was well capable of handling such situations ! I love flying, but I must say that on that flight I couldn't wait to get on the ground !

33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineAirbus_A340 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2000, 1567 posts, RR: 19
Reply 1, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 15211 times:

Mine was when i was on China Airlines, it is a great airline with great food and service. The flight was a few months ago on a 737-800 and there was so much turbulance half way throught the flight, just that funny feeling in your tummy! But it was a good flight and i loved the turbulance! (from malaysia-hong kong)
Trevor AKA Airbus_A340

People. They make an airline. www.cathaypacific.com
User currently offlineCPDC10-30 From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 4992 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 15198 times:

Worst ever was on Aloha Airlines from HNL-OGG back in 1990. Even though it was a very short flight, the turbulence was horrible. Drinks spilled all over the place and wings on the old 737-200 flexing quite a bit. Quite scary too since it was not long after the roof got ripped off another Aloha jet in flight.

User currently offlineCba From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 4534 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 15187 times:

In July, I flew a CO 757 from EWR-IAH, and the whole flight was turbulent, from the moment we got off the ground until the moment we touched down. The weather in Newark wasn't good that day, lots of clouds. Bumpy takeoff. The whole flight was turbulent (it was kind of fun though). The pilot said that the ATC wanted him to keep the speed up, which meant more turbulence.

I also flew a DL 737-200 from HOU to CVG a few years ago for a funeral. Takeoff from HOU was extremely bumpy. We hit a large airpocket, and it felt like we were falling for a whole 2 seconds. The weather was really bad in Cincinnati, and the landing was really rough. Didn't see the runway until we touched down.

User currently offlineMSYtristar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 15178 times:

I have been on three flights with severe turbulence. The first was in 1996, on a Southwest 737-200. We were en-route between Houston and New Orleans. It was about 1030pm. We were flying in and out of thunderstoms cells when bam! The nice 2000 ft. drop! It was certainly quite an experience! Secondly, I was on a United 737-300, approaching New Orleans in a thinderstorm back in 1997. The plane was really shaking all the way until landing. I am really surprised the pilot landed in the weather. And most recently, last year on a Comair RJ en-route between New Orleans and Orlando, we hit the clear air turbulence on approcah into MCO. The seat-belt sign was not on, and the plane rolled hard right and dived a bit. My mother, who was sitting next to me, was a nervous wreck. I found it kind of amusing. It was fairly bad however, and the seatbelt sign should have been on, as thunder cells were in the area.

Stephen in MSY(PVD for 12 more days)

User currently offlineAussieErj145 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 15145 times:

The most turbulent ride I ever had was about 18 years ago with heavy storms over eastern Australia. I was flying with Air New South Wales a one time subsiduary of Ansett. The aircraft was a F27-500 Friendship. It was stormy and blowing a gale in the town of Dubbo in central NSW and we ran accross the apron to the aircraft which was visibly rocking in the wind. A few frightened passengers decided not to fly so we were delayed while their luggage was removed, the whole time the plane was being buffeted around. Take off was not too bad considering the storm but as we turned towards Sydney all hell broke loose. Turbulence could only be described a very heavy and the pilot who seemed calm said we were in for a bumpy ride. No shit!
We were strapped in the whole time and the FA's never unbuckled either. So many people were sick.
I remember the steep decent into Sydney with a very definate nose down attitude. The clouds were thick and black and the friendship was being thrown around like a toy. We were in a steep turn as we broke through the clouds and I remember seeing the runway directly beneath us but we were way too high. We came down quickly and landed surprisingly smoothly.
I was lucky as I don't suffer from airsickness but it took a while for me to prise my fingers off the arm rests.

User currently offlineLxlgu From South Africa, joined Sep 2000, 1085 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 15136 times:

Hi SAA 747!
As an ex FA for SAA I found the worst turbulance often was
on flights DUR JNB over the Drakensberg Mountains.
The worst turbulance I have ever had was on a B707
between NAIROBI and KHARTOUM.45 minutes of
heavy bouncing.
Murphys law-as soon as a meal service starts so does

User currently offlineAdam84 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 1400 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 15127 times:

I have had 3 very turbulent flights. The worst was a Hawaiian Airlines DC-9-50 from HNL-OGG, the flight was smooth until we started to cross Maui to get to Kahului, the plane was shaking all over the place all the way until landing, we bounced on the runway a few times on landing.

My second worst was a Hawaiian Airlines DC-10-30 (the one with the Rennisance Cruises sticker on the #2 engine) from HNL-LAX, about 30 minutes out of HNL we started bumping around, it wasnt too bad. Well they started meal service and the turbulence started to get worse. All of a sudden the plane dropped like a rock for a couple of seconds then it jerked up real quick and I felt like I was on a rollercoaster (ya know the feeling of your stomach dropping). The turbulence lasted all the way to LAX.

My third worst was a Continental Airlines DC-10-30 from IAH-HNL, it was very bumpy from about the time we were over New Mexico till we reached Los Angeles, the rest of the flight was smooth as silk.

I think turbulence is fun, unless Im trying to sleep.

User currently offlineAirbus Lover From Malaysia, joined Apr 2000, 3248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 15117 times:

quite a few:

a330 CX from Saigon to Hong Kong
a320 VN (Vietnam Airlines) from Saigon to Hong Kong
a340/b744 AF same as above ( if i did not forget)

they are all over central vietnam where typhoon always lashes.......

User currently offlineNchua64 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 15103 times:

It has gotta be Philippine Airlines!

I was riding on one of the 744s and when it took off in the partly cloudy sky, about 10mins since the start of acent at maybe 10000ft, the plane dipped fast enough for you to say aarghhhh! The passengers screamed when this happened, and, what's worse is that I was filling up my "foreigner/declaration" card. In the end, I had to wait till the we reached flight level AND the turbulence was over to replace my card that had stray marks all over it.



User currently offlineAnsett777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 15088 times:

I was on a US Airways DeHavilland between Ithaca, NY and Laguardia, NY. There were thunder storms the whole way, and basically the plane shook and dove and climbed the whole time, and it was freaky. But, i think the prop did pretty good.

User currently offlineTan Flyr From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 15083 times:

Dec.1990 on an AA757 between Lima And MIA. Just over the equator near Quito, the big drop then like being ona log road at 525 MPH. I was waiting in line for one of the aft lavs, all the bins opened, and stuff went flying all over the place. Myself and several others received cuts trying to stop bags from hitting the pax.Bags and belongings allover the place! The FA got us belted in the the last seats, and paper towels for the blood until the turbulence stopped. The pilot shoved the throttles forward as we slowly climbed out of the very rough air at FL 41 as I recall.

AA staff met us in MIA..very professsional!

User currently offlineSkyWest-EMB120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 15059 times:

Hmm...my worst...cant say if i can pick the worst, but here are some real winners..

Delta flight 219 SFO-HNL..smooth as silk for the first 2 hours..then the last three were nasty. I have never seen a L-1011 shake as bad as that flight. Not fun.

Delta 727 LAX-SLC...

the only flight I have ever been on that was struck by lightning..bumpy as all get out, and by far the roughest landing I have yet to have. The guy next to me got off and cancelled his connecting flight..he wasnt a happy camper..little spooked.

SkyWest 3997 SLC-IDA CRJ

Nasty winds in SLC, and one hell of a snowstorm in Idaho Falls...even some frequent flyers I knew on the flight were white knuckled. Very quiet..but, as usual, our crews are the best so I didnt worry a bit.

User currently offlineKrakow5 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 15042 times:

In Spring 1988, I was on a United 737-200 flying from Birmingham AL to Chicago O'Hare when we hit clear air turbulence. The beverage cart spilled in the rear galley and I saw a number of meals thrown up some ways in the air. That was one time I was happy to have not been the first one served! After a bit, everyone and everything was cleaned up and we continued on smoothly until a very bumpy landing in Chicago. The winds were gusting at over 60 mph and one of my two travel partners refused to get on another plane. This was understandable as our original flight from Birmingham expereinced engine failure on takeoff the previous aftrenoon. We drove back to Madison WI. After that flight, I NEVER get up when the seat belt sign is lit.

A few years ago, I was on a Southwest 737-200 from Columbus OH to Chicago Midway and expereinced the worst continuous turbulence yet. The middle seat was empty so I put the arm rest up but a couple of inches stuck out at the level of my shoulder. After being thrown into the arm rest for 45 minutes, I had a very nice bruise. The poor fellow at the window, who had only flown once before, asked if it was always like this. My reply was no but, as he was connecting to Cleveland, he should expect more of the same. I will never forget the look on his face - sheer terror.

User currently offlineHP737 From United States of America, joined May 2000, 72 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 15037 times:

In May 2000 on an America West 737-300 from LAS to MKE. There were storms along the entire flight path. It got bumpy immediately on takeoff and we had a few good dips and lurches that sent things like cups and napkins flying out of our hands. I was surprised that the FAs provided drink service; people would stand up to use the lav and they would tell them to sit down and buckle up. I was sitting in the back of the plane with a clear view of the wing and I got a good idea of how much flex a 737 wing has! The turbulence didn't quit until our final approach to MKE. By then we had gotten past the storms and had a suprisingly smooth landing.

User currently offlineSccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 6065 posts, RR: 26
Reply 15, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 15032 times:

Air New Zealand, SYD-LAX, January, 2000; turbulence started as moderate chop about 45 minutes out of SYD and, for nearly the entire flight, it continued as light to heavy moderate most of the way. The turbulence was bad enough that it was nearly impossible to sleep, or to keep a drink without drinking it straight away.

Try a 15 hour flight with minimal sleep.

The pilots tried a number of different altitudes in their effort to find a smoother level, to no avail. It was miserable, but nothing like the shockingly-bad actions of U.S.Customs at LAX. 2 1/2 hours to clear, we missed two possible earlier connections to DFW, but the feds couldn't have cared less. Jerks.

...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineSushka From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 4784 posts, RR: 13
Reply 16, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 15030 times:

The most turbulent flight was when I took a Lufthansa 737-300 Kiev-Frankfurt in 1995 I think. We kept dropping and the passengers were screaming. I thought that it was fun, Because I knew that nothing bad was realy happening       

Pershoyu Spravoyu Litaki!
User currently offlineIB6400 From Mexico, joined Jun 1999, 247 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (15 years 6 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 15065 times:


AeroMexico 767-300 ER, CUN-MEX, March 2000.

A very bumpy take off. I would say the worst I had ever.

The captain announced we were expecting "Severe Turbulence". Then when the plane was climbing the turbulence started, I felt a couple of times that weird stomach sensation, when you feel like the plane is going down.

My schoolmates and I were heading to Mexico City (After a great Spring Break). One of my friends was crying and a flight attendant said to her "This is going to end soon... Don't worry" That bumby take off last for a while.

Then my pals started to ask those dumb questions like: "Is the plane going down?, Does the pilot knows what is he doing?, Excuse me miss! It's everything ok?, Please tell the captain he is not carrying animals!"

My best friend who was seated next to me asked me what was going on. I did not really knew why we were in that kind of turbulence but I said him the plane could stand that kind of turbulence, he said it was ok. But the scary face from him and the rest of my pals didn't go out.

As soon as we reached final altitude we had a very, but very nice flight.

Mexico City


AeroMéxico 767 300 ER, CUN-MEX, marzo de 2000.

Tuvimos un despegue con mucho sobresalto, yo diría que el peor que he tenido en toda mi vida.

El capitán anunció que esperábamos "Bolsas de aire muy severas" entonces mientras el avión se encontraba en ascenso comenzó el espectáculo, por lo menos sentí un par de veces esa sensación en el estómago en donde siente uno que se está cayendo el avión.

Mis compañeros y yo nos dirigíamos a la Ciudad de México (después de la maravilla de semana en Cancún). Una de mis amigas estaba completamente en lágrimas y una azafata se le acercó diciendo: "No te preocupes, esto ya se acaba". Ese ascenso y la turbulencia duraron un rato.

Mientras tanto mis amigos comenzaron a hacer esas preguntas idiotas como: "¿Se va a caer el avión?, ¿Sabe el piloto lo que hace?, Disculpe señorita, ¿está todo bien?, ¡Alguien dígale al piloto que no trae animales!"

Mi mejor amigo que estaba sentado a mi lado me preguntó qué por qué estaba pasando por eso el avión, no le supe contestar a ciencia cierta porqué pero le dije que el avión podía salir de esa sin problemas. Me dijo que estaba bien pero la cara de susto de él y de los demás nunca se fue.

Cuando alcanzamos la altitud de crucero tuvimos un vuelo muy, pero muy tranquilo.

Ciudad de México

Yo soy yo más mis circunstancias - J. Ortega y Gasset
User currently offlineEyeSky From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 332 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 14992 times:
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The worst turbulence I was ever in was on a Pan Am 720 between BDA-BOS in August 1972. It was a late afternoon flight and the FA's were just about half way through the meal service when the bottom fell out of everything. We dropped for what seemed like an eternity while meal trays, beverages, carry on luggage, and unsecured pax and FA's went all over the cabin. I was in an aisle seat toward the rear of the coach cabin and watched the FA in the aisle in front of me holding on to the armrests of the seats she was between at the time. She was trying to steady the food cart with her knees to keep it from getting away from her. There was quite a lot of screaming and yelling as people got pelted with food, beverages and carry on luggage.

When things finally settled down the pilot came over the PA and asked everyone, including FA's to be seated immediately and strap in. The FA in front of me sat cross legged in the aisle, covered with liquid and food and still with a death grip on the two armrests. The male passenger seated to her left was holding on to her shoulder to help keep her put. When things finally smoothed out a bit, she and the other FA she was working with got up and hustled the food cart back to the rear galley and stowed pronto.

The pilot said that the aircraft was penetrating the forward edge of a line of thunderstoms and we had hit a sudden downdraft that dropped us several hundred feet in just a few seconds (microburst?). The pilot assured us that the aircraft was built to withstand much greater forces than we had just encountered and that there was absolutely no need for us to worry. Fortunately no one was seriously injured, but the cabin was a terrible mess and most of the pax, myself included, were a bit shook up.

There were a few more bumps after that but nothing like the first one. The FA's finished the meal service for anyone who was interested (not many I can tell you) and spent the remainder of the flight handing out napkins and towels to help people clean up after the mess. They took away more than a few airsickness bags as well.

About 2 weeks later we got a nice letter and 2 vinyl Pan Am carry on bags in the mail from their New York office. Even though they said that no one could predict clear air turbulence they thanked us for being so understanding about the incident. Seemed like a poorly orchestrated attempt on PAA's part to keep down potential lawsuits.

Although I have flown hundreds of times, I haven't been in any turbulence that was worse than this incident. I suppose if it was a microburst that we encountered I should be thankful that we were at cruise altitude and not on take off or landing.


User currently offlineLax2000 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 541 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 14983 times:

Airline:Virgin Airlines 747-200 LAX-LHR
Location: Mojave Desert

The turbulence was probably in the high end of moderate. The 747 was getting tossed in a spring time desert thunderstorm. FA's fell and people were crying. It was pretty intense.


User currently offlineCaribb From Canada, joined Nov 1999, 1649 posts, RR: 7
Reply 20, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 14978 times:

I havn't experienced any "severe" turbulance but there's been a couple of rough moments;

1 - Vancouver-Montreal.. AC A320 Just as we were climbing over the Rockies the plane started shaking very strongly.. breakfast service was halted and everyone was asked to buckle down for a rough stretch. What was weird was the plane was riding waves of jetstreams that came in spurts.. when we hit them we started moving sidways as well as up and down.. a very strange feeling but I was ok with it.

2 - Way back Montreal-London BOAC 707 (1970s) I remember hitting an air pocket that never seemed to end. To this day and after many many kilometers of air travel I have yet to re-experience the feeling of dropping in my stomach as I did on that flight. I remember the wings literally flapping for several moments throughout the journey over the Atlantic.

3 - A friend of mine experieced severe turbulance on an Eastern Airlines 727 flying between Montreal and Phildelphia during a thunderstorm. No one was allowed to get up during the flight and the aircraft shaking was so bad even the arm rests were flipping up and down throughout the flight. She said if that would have been her first flight she would never had gotten back on a plane again.

I suspect the larger widebodies seemed to handle turbulance better these days. Even when they hit some rough air they never seem to be as strongly affected as the 707s and DC-8s from the past.

User currently offlinePVDflier From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 59 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 14961 times:

It was July, 1999... USAirways Express (Commutair) Beechcraft 1900D. SYR to PVD via ALB. Somewhere shortly after take-off from ALB, over the Berkshires, the little prop hit an airpocket, and dropped violently. Really violently. I remember my fellow 17 or so passengers never uttered a word. Big, puffy cells surrounded the plane, so it was probably one of those summertime conditions. The plane bucked and rolled for the next 35 minutes causing some... how shall I put this... upset stomachs.

Anyway, we shook, rattled, and rolled all the way to Providence, where we landed beneath a dark, grey sky. It began pouring on our taxi to the gate. Oh, we all got wet running to the terminal.

I love that little Beechcraft though. It's one SOLID aircraft.

User currently offlineTripl7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 14953 times:

As FA for the past 22 years, I have been thrown about every corner of the european sky !
To those of you who think that turbulence is fun, think again. You are either too young or very inexperienced. Planes can take a lot of beating, sure, but older planes ......... ?
The worst turb was on Korean 008 from LAX - HNL. Half way across the Pacific, this light (only 50 pax), old 747-100. The plane started shaking as I left the lavatory. Two crew members grabbed me be and threw me on an aisle seat.
Was a bit scared thinking of the ocean raging below ..... and the sharks !

User currently offlineBoeing747-400 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 14944 times:

My most tubulence flight was on a US Airways A320, it was very stormy and the storms we flew into were developing faster than the controllers told the pilots, so we flew into a storm that was much worse than it was expected to be.

I can't remember where the flight was, I think it was out of LAX, ????

But I do remember that the plane was creaking and shaking sooooo much that the passenger sitting next to me started to say the lord's prayer.

Very scary flight that was.

User currently offlineGUNDU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (15 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 14941 times:

SQ 866 on landing at HKG.the plane flew through on a low cloud on approach to 07L and the plane was heaving up and down.


25 Tom in NO : I'd have to say it was United flight 434 from DEN to MSY late in 1995, aboard a 737-300. We were descending to MSY through a line of thunderstorms. Th
26 Post contains images Pilotallen : hey, I have been in a few rough trips but nothing that scarred everyone too much. Just remember these planes are made to withstand tons of pressure. K
27 AA@DFW : Tan Flyr: I'm sorry to hear about your incident on AA between Lima and Miami. Can you go into more depth about the incident? I'm pleased to hear that
28 SA-JET : A few years ago, on a SAA 747-SP between Cape Town and Johannesburg. About 20 minutes before landing we hit incredible turbulence. Plane actually "dro
29 Post contains links and images AF Cabin Crew : This morning, AF379 PHL-CDG F-GEMP, we dropped 500 feet in clear air while serving breakfast, slashed-open hands, blood on all heads of passengers who
30 SA-JET : Shit! Does not sound good. Well, if the passengers congratulated you guys, then congratulations from me as well. Stay safe!!!!
31 Panman : I have had two bad experience. 1) Early 90's, British Airways BA256, LHR-POS. We left Barbados enroute to Trinidad and the weather was fine - sun shin
32 Fanofjets : First place: AMS-JFK, 1972, KLM 747-206. During our descent, we hit a hurricane. The mighty Jumbo was tossed; I could see the inboard aileron and wing
33 AerLingus : I encountered a very turbulent approach into DFW on an American MD-80. We had not quite broken through the cloud ceiling when the plane started to sha
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