July 16, 2018 / 1 Comment
One thing we always do before a long-haul flight is to check the the turbulence forecast. The question is - should you? And if you want to find information regarding the turbulence forecast for your next flight, where do you go?
Flight turbulence is one of the most misunderstood aspects of air travel - one that far too many people fear, and very few understand. I know, because I use to be one of those people, and understanding what the travel forecast was helped me get over this.
I remember the days dreading flights, any flight, no matter the length, knowing that the slightest bump and shimmy of the plane would send me into a white-knuckled panic. Yet, one of the ways that I overcame that fear of flying was by giving myself the right type of information.
Overcome fear with facts - like knowing the turbulence forecast before you fly!
How does knowing the turbulence forecast really help? It's simple, actually. There is a "jarring" element to the idea of unanticipated turbulence. When you aren't expecting it, you can't get in the right frame of mind to handle the turbulence that eventually does come.
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, is that you don't waste energy fearing turbulence if you know ahead of time that the forecast calls for little or light turbulence. Luckily, there are resources that help with just that!
One of the most obvious places to go for a turbulence forecast is, well Turbulence Forecast, a website dedicated to exactly what you think it would be!
It's a global website, driven largely from pilot reports of turbulence. They're responsive via e-mail if you're looking for a forecast catered to your specific flight plan, for plans at either $19.99 or $29.99 for one-way or round-trip, respectively. There are also membership options available, including an unlimited forecast plan that includes advertisements.
My Flight Forecast
My Flight Forecast is another great website, set-up more like Flightaware, in that you search a route and get results. This is a great site that charges $4.99 per forecast, regardless of location, but also has a very informative blog and information on overcoming fear of flying.
The website doubles as a weather forecaster, and also comes with a handy app for the iPhone network.
Weather.com is another logical website that provides great turbulence forecasts, ranging from 24 hours to several days in advance. These are real-time focused reports that are complete with pilot briefings, and storm tracker maps.
While not free, these for-pay turbulence reports are some of the most thorough reports on the market - though a bit corporatized (as you might expect).
Aviation Weather (.gov site)
Governmental aviation websites will always be a great location for weather and turbulence reports, and while this is fairly basic in terms of general maps and non-customized information, the information is some of the most reliable available. They'll also be great for giving up to the minute turbulence forecasts ranging from within 24 hours to one week out.
This is general, but professional. They do have satellite and radar images, as well as in depth weather forecasts that impact flight paths in the United States.
Fear of Flying
Fear of Flying is a website dedicated to helping people get over their fear of flying, and of course discomfort over turbulence is one of the primary reasons people actually fear flying.
This is a great resource for novice travelers. It's a global website that gives accurate 24 hour turbulence forecasts, and comes complete with weather descriptions and maps for printing and understanding.
Things to Remember About Turbulence
It's important to remember, as this website and so many other point out, that turbulence cannot cause a flight to crash. Turbulence is a natural course of flying, and unavoidable. In fact, planes are tested far above the levels of recorded turbulence to make sure no turbulence can bring it down. The bodies of the planes are built specifically to handle turbulence that is far worse than what you'll even experience on a plane.
A plane can't be significantly altered, including flipped, thrown into a tailspin, spun, or otherwise thrown off-course due to turbulence - no matter how mighty the gust might be.
Are the conditions annoying? Yes - not only to you, but also to the crew (ever seen your flight attendant stumble walking down the aisle? Doesn't look fun). But just remember - the plane will not crash due to turbulence. Ever.
Now, with that being said, it's important to follow the instructions of your on-board crew, as turbulence can cause some non-threatening consequences. Things like wearing your seat belt when asked are critical, as is remaining in your seat when your flight is encountering turbulence. These types of commands are given for your safety and benefit, as a significant drop in altitude because of turbulence (something that happens, but is completely natural and safe), can cause you to lift in your seat and hit your head. Walking around when you aren't suppose to is similarly dangerous, but also endangers fellow flyers in the event you stumble into them.
So, listen to what your crew has to say. Have good manners, but there really is no reason to be afraid. Turbulence is a natural part of flying, and there are plenty of ways to find turbulence forecasts to help you know and anticipate what type of flight you'll be having.
So, pick one of these great resources, educate yourself, and get over your fear of flying with an updated turbulence forecast before your next trip!
Useful Travel Resources for Any Trip!
Google Maps – Plan your trip anywhere with Google Maps. Also great for directions on the go!
RentalCars.com – Great site for comparing rental car prices
Skyscanner.net – Our favorite place to book cheap airline flights
Expedia.com – Book affordable accommodation or bundle flights and hotels
What's the one travel accessory we never travel without? RFID Protected Travel Money Belt
Suggested Reading: Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Greatest Trips