There’s no doubt turbulence is getting worse thanks to climate change. We’re seeing more and more reports of severe turbulence where passengers and flight attendants are getting hurt. In December, I wrote about a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Hawaii, which injured dozens of passengers.

This week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), posted on X, formerly Twitter, that they were opening “an investigation into the Aug. 29 turbulence event on Delta # 175. The Airbus A-350 was enroute from Milan, Italy, when flight encountered severe turbulence on approach to its planned destination of Atlanta, Georgia.”

I do not like turbulence and I would argue that most people don’t either. I say most, because believe it or not, I actually have at least two friends who say they enjoy turbulence. It’s like a rollercoaster ride for them. I used to be afraid to fly and any time a plane hit turbulence, it magnified my fear exponentially. Fortunately, after all my years of flying and speaking to pilots, I’ve come to realize that planes are safe, even in severe turbulence, as long passengers and crew have their seatbelts on. RELATED: How I Overcame My Fear of Flying

A popular TikToker from Australia created a short 57-second video that’s going viral. The reason Jimmy Nicholson’s video has over 13 million views is because he’s a pilot but he filmed it as a passenger while sitting in the last row of an aircraft, during severe turbulence.

Jimmy captioned the video, saying: “Horrible turbulence on our flight today. I’m a pilot and actually fly this aircraft type (Airbus). Here’s why you have nothing to worry about.” In the video, Jimmy calmly explains, smiling at times, while everyone, including his wife, is screaming that this is “some of the worst turbulence I’ve ever felt. So it’s a short flight. It’s not comfortable.”

Jimmy then put text overlay on the video with these tips:

  1. Remind yourself — it’s completely normal. The plane isn’t going to fall out of the sky.
  2. Water bottle trick; the water isn’t moving much is it? he writes. He then shows a three quarters empty Evian water bottle turned upside down and the water is indeed not moving.
  3. Fresh air, look outside window (we didn’t have one), he says.

Growing up, my brother used to always tell me to look at the horizon when I was feeling seasick while fishing in choppy waters out on his boat. It does work.

Jimmy and his wife were sitting in the very last row, I’m guessing because he was using his flight passes so they usually get to fly free and take whichever seats are available. The last row is often blocked for flight crew in the U.S. if the flight isn’t sold out.

He then explains while holding his wife’s hand: “So we are at the back of the plane, so it’s worse here.” Jimmy is right again. When I was paranoid about turbulence, industry insiders would tell me to sit near the wings since it’s the most stable.

Jimmy then explained again that his flight wasn’t fun. He said, “It’s not comfortable probably some of the worst I’ve been in, could be widespread storms, so they just have to pick their path of least resistance and go through it.”

He then reassured his viewers that there’s nothing to worry about. “Planes are built to withstand very very very way worse. Not fun evidently,” as he pans to his panicked and/or motion sick wife.

He then says it’s “completely fine. Some of the worst turbulence I’ve ever felt.”

Finally, just as the plane was about to touch down he said, “This is one that deserves a clap.” Then he pans to the cabin showing everyone clapping. He finished with, “pilots earned their money today.”

@jimmy_nicholson Horrible turbulence on our flight today. Im a Pilot and actually fly this aircaft type (Airbus). Here’s why you have nothing to worry about #pilot #turbulence ♬ original sound – Jimmy Nicholson

Fasten your seatbelt
As you could see from Jimmy’s video, no one was standing up during the flight and they presumably all had their seatbelts on. As our resident pilot Spencer Marker wrote in one of his posts: “Turbulence is something pilots and passengers alike would prefer to avoid. However, to enable travel to certain parts of the globe, airplanes must traverse areas where turbulence is common. Nonetheless, with today’s modern aircraft and understanding of meteorology, turbulence is more of a nuisance than a safety hazard. But remember, if your crew does turn on the “fasten seatbelt” sign, please take your seat and buckle up.”

What to do if you’re in the bathroom during severe turbulence
Sometimes, turbulence comes out of nowhere so if you ever find yourself in the bathroom when severe turbulence hits, NBC News did an investigative piece on how to stay safe. One of the tips is if you’re in the bathroom, you shouldn’t run back to your seat. Instead, flight attendants recommend you sit on the toilet and brace yourself until it passes.

How to Find Out Whether Your Flight Is Going to Be Turbulent
How Do Pilots Identify and Avoid Areas of Turbulence?
Ask a Pilot with Spencer: Where is Turbulence Most Common?
Ask a Pilot with Spencer: What is Clear Air Turbulence?
What to Do if You’re in the Bathroom During Severe Turbulence
How to Find Out Whether Your Flight Is Going to Be Turbulent
Shorter Flight WIth Turbulence or No Turbulence With a Longer Flight?
Travel Video of the Week: Turbulence with Key & Peele

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1 Comment On "Pilot Traveling as Passenger in Severe Turbulence Explains Why It's No Big Deal"
  1. K Helldoge|

    This guy cannot be a real pilot. Severe Turbulence is a very big deal and can cause structural damage.

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