I've had many bumpy flights as a passenger, but two in particular come to mind, both involving thunderstorms. The most terrifying was on approach to JNB
in an SAA 737-800, after an otherwise uneventful flight from CPT
. It was late afternoon, and as we descended the clouds got darker and darker, and the air got rougher and rougher (I think the captain had asked the F/As to be seated earlier than usual for landing, since everyone was safely belted in as I recall), until finally it almost looked like night outside, the clouds were so thick you could barely see the winglets, and we were being jolted all over the place like nothing I've experienced before or since. In particular, I remember being slammed violently from side to side more than usual. Finally, we broke out under the clouds, with jagged lightning bolts all around, and had a relatively normal landing. That was the only time I'd ever actually applauded on touchdown.
More recenly, just after takeoff from MEX
in an AM MD
-80, we were climbing through the clouds when suddenly the captain said, very abruptly in Spanish, "fasten seatbelts." I knew this wasn't a good sign since the seatbelt sign was already on, and the F/As hadn't even stood up yet! Sure enough, a moment later I heard the engines throttled way back, and then we were being shaken all over the place--including a couple of very sharp drops that seemed to leave my stomach somewhere between my ears--for a few very long minutes before continuing on our way to SJD.
Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire