Tactics to Deal with Turbulence and Have a Smooth Flight

Tactics to Deal with Turbulence: Strategies To Remain Clam and Relax

Turbulence is an unavoidable challenge that pilots and passengers face. It refers to the unpredictable and erratic movements of the air, causing disruptions to the smooth flight experience.

Turbulence can even lead to delay in your flight. And, in certain cases, you could be entitled to compensation for a delayed flight.

In this article, we will explore various strategies and techniques that can help you navigate through turbulence with ease and peace of mind.


Before delving into the tactics, let’s take a moment to understand turbulence itself. Turbulence occurs due to various factors such as atmospheric conditions, jet streams, or even the wake of other aircraft. It can manifest in different forms, including light, moderate, or severe turbulence.

Light turbulence causes slight discomfort and slight changes in altitude, while moderate turbulence leads to more pronounced changes in altitude and occasional bumpiness. Severe turbulence, on the other hand, involves violent updrafts and downdrafts, posing a potential threat to the aircraft and passengers.

Preparing for Turbulence: What to Expect

Expect the Unexpected: Turbulence Hotspots

Tactics to deal with turbulence begin with awareness. It’s crucial to understand where turbulence is more likely to occur during a flight. Common turbulence hotspots include mountainous areas, jet stream regions, weather fronts, and near convective activity. By knowing these areas, pilots can take proactive measures to minimize the impact of turbulence on the flight.

Buckle Up: Fasten Your Seatbelt

One of the simplest yet most effective tactics for passengers to deal with turbulence is to ensure their seatbelts are securely fastened throughout the flight. Seatbelts keep passengers restrained during unexpected turbulence, preventing any potential injuries or accidents. Remember, it only takes a few seconds to fasten your seatbelt, but it can make a world of difference in turbulent situations.

Types of Turbulences

There are several types of turbulence that can occur during a flight. Let’s explore each type:

  • Clear Air Turbulence (CAT): Clear Air Turbulence is the most common type of turbulence encountered by aircraft. It occurs in clear skies without any visual cues, such as clouds, to indicate its presence. CAT is caused by variations in wind speed and direction at different altitudes. It can be unpredictable and is often associated with jet streams or strong upper-level winds.
  • Mechanical Turbulence: Mechanical turbulence is caused by the interaction of the aircraft with the surrounding air. This type of turbulence is typically experienced during takeoff and landing or when flying close to mountains, buildings, or other obstacles. As the aircraft moves through the air, it creates disturbances that can result in turbulence.
  • Thermal Turbulence: Thermal turbulence, also known as convective turbulence, is caused by temperature differences in the atmosphere. When the sun heats the ground, warm air rises, creating thermals. These rising pockets of warm air can cause turbulence, especially on hot days or in areas with uneven heating, such as over land or near mountains.
  • Wake Turbulence: Wake turbulence occurs behind an aircraft as it generates vortices of air. These vortices are created by the wings and can trail behind the aircraft, particularly during takeoff and landing. Wake turbulence can be hazardous, especially for smaller aircraft following larger ones, and pilots are trained to maintain safe separation to avoid encountering these vortices.
  • Mountain Wave Turbulence: Mountain wave turbulence occurs when air flows over mountain ranges. As the air encounters the mountain, it is forced to rise, creating waves in the atmosphere. These waves can extend downwind from the mountain and can cause moderate to severe turbulence for aircraft flying in the vicinity.
  • Gust Turbulence: Gust turbulence is caused by sudden and rapid changes in wind speed and direction. It can be associated with weather fronts, thunderstorms, or strong localized wind patterns. Gusts can cause the aircraft to experience abrupt changes in altitude and can be particularly challenging to predict and navigate.

It’s important to note that turbulence can vary in intensity, ranging from light bumps to severe jolts. Pilots receive extensive training to anticipate and manage turbulence, and aircraft are designed to withstand its effects. While turbulence can be uncomfortable, it is rarely a safety concern. Flight crews and air traffic controllers work together to minimize exposure to turbulence and ensure the safety of passengers and crew onboard.

10 Effective Strategies to Handle Turbulence

Certainly! Here are some tips for handling turbulence for nervous flyers:

  1. Educate Yourself: Knowledge is power. Learn about turbulence and understand that it is a normal part of flying. Knowing the science behind it and how planes are designed to withstand turbulence can help alleviate anxiety.
  2. Choose Your Seat Wisely: If you’re a nervous flyer, consider choosing a seat over the wing or closer to the front of the aircraft. These areas tend to experience less motion during turbulence, offering a smoother ride.
  3. Following Pilot Instructions: Have faith in the pilots. They are trained to handle turbulence safely and efficiently. Remember that they have the experience and expertise to navigate through challenging weather conditions.
  4. Keep Yourself Distracted: Engage in activities that divert your attention during turbulent moments. Listen to calming music, watch a movie, or engage in conversation with a fellow passenger. Distracting yourself can help take your mind off the turbulence and reduce anxiety.
  5. Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques: Practice deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to calm your mind and body. Slow, deep breaths can help regulate your heart rate and promote a sense of relaxation during turbulent episodes.
  6. Stay Positive and Reassure Yourself: Remind yourself that turbulence is normal and that you are safe. Use positive self-talk and affirmations to boost your confidence and maintain a positive mindset throughout the flight.
  7. Use Visualizations: Visualize yourself in a calm and serene environment, such as a peaceful beach or a tranquil forest. Imagine yourself gliding smoothly through the air, unaffected by turbulence. Visualizations can help create a sense of calmness and tranquility.
  8. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol on a plane can increase anxiety levels and amplify the effects of turbulence. It’s best to avoid or limit these substances before and during your flight.
  9. Communicate with the Flight Attendants: If you’re feeling anxious or unsettled, don’t hesitate to communicate with the flight attendants. They are there to assist you and can provide reassurance or offer any necessary support during turbulent moments.
  10. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If your fear of flying and anxiety related to turbulence persist, consider seeking professional help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy can be effective in managing and overcoming flight-related anxiety.

Remember, turbulence is a common occurrence during flights, and it rarely poses a significant danger. By implementing these tips and techniques, you can help alleviate your anxiety and make your flying experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

Was your flight delayed? You may be eligible for compensation

Has your flight been delayed for more than 3 hours or even canceled? Don't worry, you may be eligible for compensation up to 600€ under the EU Regulation 261/2004.

Check if You're Eligible

We offer "No Win - No Fee" Services, so claiming is Risk-Free!

Which is the best company to claim flight delay compensation?

ClaimFlights is the best flight delay claim company when it comes to the payout after their 25% service fee. Through ClaimFlights, you could get 75% of the receivable compensation.

The following table gives you a direct comparison of flight delay compensation claim companies.

Your payout* (as Flight Delay Compensation)

for less than 1500 km for 1501 to 3500 km for more than 3500 km
ClaimFlights 187.50 € 300 € 450 €
Flightright 125.75 € 201.20 € 301.80 €
AirHelp 125 € 200 € 300 €
ClaimCompass 125 € 200 € 300 €
SkyRefund 125 € 200 € 300 €

* Source: Price comparison of flight delay claim companies, as of 8th August 2023.


Turbulence is an inherent aspect of flying, but with the right tactics, it doesn’t have to be a cause for anxiety or distress. By understanding turbulence, preparing for it, and utilizing in-flight strategies, passengers can navigate through turbulence with confidence and ease. Remember to buckle up, follow pilot instructions, and keep calm during the journey. With these tactics in your toolkit, you’ll be well-equipped to master the art of staying steady even in the face of turbulence.

Pramod Ram

Pramod Ram

Digital Marketing Strategist

Pramod Ram heads the Online Marketing and Content Marketing Team at Claim Flights GmbH. He loves to travel, read books, watch movies and do intensive research.

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