On Monday the return flight from Palm Springs was a scar one for me, at least during the take-off. The wind shear and wind blowing across the mountain pass combined create this turbulence that hit the plane. As soon as the plane lifted off the ground it began to bump to left and right. The sinking sensation that usually happens when the flaps are retracted was amplified by bumps. To be honest, even as a seasoned traveler, I was unnerved by the intense bumping as I felt the aircraft was struggling to climb and gain altitude.
The chaotic motion persisted well into the flight to the extent that beverage service was delayed. With one hand gripping the armrest, the other hand holding my book, I tried to lift my legs off the floor so I can minimize the impact. I find a book as captivating as Ken Follett’s A Dangerous Fortune a good distraction from the fright.
It’s comforting to know that airplane will hold up to the roughest of air. That said, I still prefer to be negotiating through turbulence in a wide-body jetliners like Boeing 777 than a CRJ. Moderate turbulence is strong enough to move things around in the cabin. As a test, you can set a cup or glass on your table. If it gets knocked off–and not just small sliding movements that take it over the edge–then you are likely experiencing moderate turbulence. You’d feel a definite strain against your seat belt.