Flight attendants reveal how to stay safe during turbulence after deadly Singapore Airlines incident

How to stay safe during turbulent times in the sky.

While Singapore Airlines’ deadly turbulence incident was exceedingly rare, passengers must remain vigilant while flying. Fortunately, flight experts have recently revealed some crucial tips on how passengers can stay safe should their plane hit severe bumps in the air.

During Tuesday’s catastrophic accident, a 73-year-old British grandfather was killed and more than 30 others were injured after Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 encountered heavy turbulence — plummeting 6,000 feet and sending untethered travelers crashing into overhead bins.

As a result, the aircraft, which was traveling from London to Singapore, was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok.

To avoid turbulence-induced injuries — or even severe discomfort — flight gurus advise that passengers heed the most oft-repeated rule of flying: Fasten your seat belt while seated.

“Unless you’re strapped in, if the airplane goes down, you’re going to go upwards,” Terry Tozer, a pilot with 20 years under his belt, told the Daily Mail. “So the secret is keeping your belt done up.”

He added, “I never sit there without my seatbelt done up. I can’t see why you would.”

And while the flyboy acknowledged this is difficult on a long haul flight — where both passengers and crewmembers are on their feet quite a bit — strapping oneself down whenever seated can help mitigate risk.

Passengers can further ensure their safety by selecting their seats wisely. Tozer suggests sitting in the middle of the plane to minimize the effects of turbulence.

“The aircraft is suspended by the wings, so think of the rest of it like a springboard,” the pilot explained. “The place where you’ll feel turbulence the least is over the wing.”

As for the specific seat, sitting by the window is safest as the flyer is less likely to be hit by falling luggage from the overhead bin during a bumpy ride.

“Consider a window seat to avoid being directly under overhead compartments, which can open during extreme turbulence,” warned Nicky Kelvin, editor of the Points Guy travel site.

He also advised steering clear of the galley as it’s full of items that can become projectiles if the plane hits turbulence.

Interestingly, the middle seats in the back of the aircraft are the safest place to be during a crash as they only carry a 28% fatality rate, according to a TIME analysis of 35 years of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data. They were much safer than aisle seats in the middle of the cabin, which had a fatality rate of 44%.

Along with scouting safe havens, passengers must also know what to do if and when turbulence hits. Flight experts advise moving in time with the turbulence by jiggling about in one’s seat — a surprising technique employed by crewmembers.

“When turbulence hits, basically, just pretend you’re jelly or submerged in jelly,” an air hostess named Taylor advised in a TikTok video posted by TPG editor Kelvin. “Wiggle in your seat like a little jellyfish; you’ll feel so much better.”

This countermeasure might seem counterintuitive, however by moving along with the plane’s motion, passengers can reduce its impact, much like rolling with the punches.

Passengers can even check the turbulence forecast for their route using Turbli.com, which shows projected bumps in the road via interactive maps.

Fortunately, incidents like the Singapore Airlines tragedy are “very, very rare,” according to Tozer.

“I’ve only encountered turbulence that gave us a level change of a couple of thousand feet on one occasion in a career spanning 20 years or so,” he said. “The turbulence, caused by thunderstorm activity, lifted it up 1,000 feet, and then we went down 1,000 feet.”

“And that wasn’t as bad as the Singapore Airlines event.”

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