Clear Skies Ahead: Expert Strategies to Conquer Turbulence Anxiety in Air Travel


For many, the fear of flying, or aviophobia, is intensified by the unpredictable nature of turbulence. In a recent report, aviation experts shed light on the prevalence of turbulence anxiety and offered valuable insights into understanding and managing this common concern.

Here, we explore the expert advice provided by David Rimmer, CEO of AB Aviation Group, and Mark Debus, a licensed clinical social worker and clinical manager of behavioral health services at Sedgwick.

Turbulence, often referred to as “rough air,” results from the irregular movement of air. Causes range from thunderstorms to changes in air pressure and air currents around mountains. While turbulence is unsettling, experts emphasize its minimal threat to modern aircraft, with Rimmer highlighting that contemporary planes are designed to handle even moderate turbulence with ease.

Categorizing turbulence by severity — light, moderate, severe, and extreme — experts explain that most commercial flights experience only light turbulence, felt as slight bumps. While severe turbulence is rare and can cause injuries, advancements in weather forecasting and communication among pilots mitigate these risks.

Rimmer stresses the importance of passenger safety during turbulence, citing FAA data that reveals 163 severe injuries attributed to turbulence between 2009 and 2022, with flight attendants being the most affected. He advises passengers to stay seated, buckle up, and avoid standing when the seat belt sign is illuminated to prevent turbulence-related injuries.

Strategies for Coping with Turbulence Anxiety

For those grappling with turbulence anxiety, experts provide practical strategies to alleviate concerns and enhance the flying experience.

  1. Choose Your Seat Wisely: Rimmer recommends avoiding seats in the back of the plane, where turbulence tends to be more pronounced. Opting for seats closer to the front can reduce the impact of bumps and side-to-side movement.
  2. Listen to Your Pilots: Paying attention to pre-flight weather briefings and following the instructions of flight crews during turbulence is crucial. Pilots communicate effectively to ensure passenger safety, and heeding their advice fosters a sense of security.
  3. Practice Grounding Techniques: Debus suggests grounding techniques to shift focus from anxious thoughts. Engaging multiple senses — sight, touch, smell, and hearing — can help. Techniques include focusing on an object, lightly touching a solid surface, identifying scents, and listening to surrounding sounds.
  4. Rhythmic Breathwork: Employing rhythmic breathing, such as the 3-3-3 method, aids in calming the body. Debus recommends inhaling slowly for three seconds, holding for three seconds, exhaling for three seconds, waiting for three seconds, and repeating.
  5. Engage in Light Conversations: Initiating a conversation with a seatmate, particularly if they seem anxious, can be mutually beneficial. Distracting each other from turbulence through friendly dialogue helps alleviate anxiety.

As the aviation industry continues to prioritize passenger safety, understanding and managing turbulence anxiety remains crucial. By implementing these expert-backed strategies, passengers can empower themselves to navigate through moments of turbulence with resilience and composure.

Whether choosing the right seat, staying informed, practicing grounding techniques, or engaging in friendly conversations, these approaches contribute to a more positive and anxiety-free flying experience.


— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

How a Vegan Diet Could Combat Sleep Apnea, According to Study

In the ongoing quest to combat sleep apnea, researchers may have uncovered a simple yet potentially effective solution: switching to a vegan diet.

A groundbreaking study suggests that adopting a plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts could significantly reduce the risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), offering hope for the millions of individuals affected by this debilitating condition.

OSA, characterized by the intermittent cessation of breathing during sleep due to airway obstruction, poses a significant health concern for millions of Americans. Beyond the immediate impact on sleep quality, OSA is associated with a heightened risk of various health complications, in

Up Next

“Olive Oil Drug” Shows Promise in Treating Glioblastoma, Early Trial Suggests

In the realm of cancer treatment, a glimmer of hope emerges for patients grappling with the devastating diagnosis of glioblastoma—a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor. Dubbed the “olive oil drug,” idroxioleic acid, or 2-OHOA, derived from oleic acid, the primary fatty acid in olive oil, has shown promise in an early trial for glioblastoma patients.

Glioblastoma poses a formidable challenge in the medical field, with over 12,000 Americans diagnosed each year and an average survival rate of merely eight months. Despite extensive research efforts, effective treatment options for this deadly cancer have remained elusive.

However, a beacon of optimism shines through as doctors explore the potential of 2-OHOA in combating glioblastoma. The novel drug works by altering the walls of tumor cells, hindering their growth and spread—a crucial mechanism in curb

Up Next

Keto Diets Show Promise in Managing Mental Illnesses, Research Suggests

In recent years, high-fat, low-carb keto diets have garnered attention for their potential role in managing mental illnesses. Clinical trials are underway to explore the diet’s effects on conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anorexia, alcoholism, and PTSD.

Dr. Shebani Sethi, leading research into the diet’s mental health applications at Stanford University, emphasizes that the ketogenic diet is not merely a passing trend but a legitimate medical intervention.

Developed over a century ago for pediatric

Up Next

Breakthrough Study Reveals How Chronic Stress Fuels Cancer Spread

In a groundbreaking study conducted by researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), a profound connection between chronic stress and the spread of cancer has been unveiled.

Led by former CSHL postdoc Xue-Yan He, along with Adjunct Professor Mikala Egeblad and Professor Linda Van Aelst, the study sheds light on the mechanisms through which stress exacerbates cancer metastasis. Published in Cancer Cell, their findings open new avenues for potential treatment strategies to halt cancer progression before it gains momentum.


Up Next

Fasting-Mimicking Diet Claims to Reverse Aging Signs by 2.5 Years

In the perpetual quest for eternal youth, a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications has unveiled a promising contender: the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD). Researchers report that this innovative eating plan could potentially reduce a person’s biological age by an average of 2.5 years.


Up Next

Breakthrough Misophonia Treatment: Researchers Discuss the Unified Protocol Therapy

Misophonia, a condition characterized by a strong aversive reaction to specific sounds, has long puzzled both patients and clinicians due to its interdisciplinary nature. However, a new therapy known as the Unified Protocol (UP) is gaining traction as a potential Misophonia treatment option.

Developed by psychologists from Duke University, Kibby McMahon, and Clair Cassiello-Robbins, the UP offers a transdiagnostic approach to emotional disorders, including misophonia.

The UP stands out from traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approaches by addressing emotional experiences and management across vari

Up Next

Unlocking the Mystery of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Exploring Causes, Concerns, and Coping Strategies

In today’s fast-paced society, feeling fatigued has become a common occurrence for many individuals. However, when exhaustion becomes a persistent companion, it may signify underlying health concerns that warrant attention. This report delves into the intricacies of ongoing chronic fatigue, exploring its potential causes, associated concerns, and avenues for coping.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis, stands as a complex and enigmatic illness characterized by relentless fatigue. Recent estimates suggest that between 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans grapple with CFS, with a notable fraction experiencing severe debilitation, confining them to bed or their homes at times.