Saturday, June 8, 2013

SQ308: Why They Tell You To Buckle In...

When turbulence strikes, it's better if it happens before mid-air mealtime.
On Singapore Airlines flight SQ308 from Singapore to London last Saturday, passengers were warned to expect "a bit of turbulence". It was announced the breakfast service would be temporarily suspended and the 'fasten seatbelt' sign flashed on. Then about a minute later came a rather urgent-sounding order for all flight attendants to immediately take their seats...
Passenger Alan Cross described what followed as "like being in an elevator with a cut cable or free-falling from some amusement park ride." Everything that wasn't tied down, including a few people, hit the ceiling!
After the severe speed-bumps, the flight attendants quickly came through the cabin to check for injuries (yes, injuries!!) and then calmly began cleaning up the mess. The flight continued normally for the next 10hrs, but the plane was met at Heathrow by paramedics: 11 passengers and one crew member needed attention. The passengers were given boxes of chocolates as they deplaned.
Cross said the cabin crew was amazing, as were fellow passengers who helped everyone around them in a calm and efficient clean-up "...and the chocolates were a nice touch."
Cool under fire...
SQ308 hit the worst type of air currents - clear air turbulence. Mostly, pilots can fly around storms because they know where they are. But clear air turbulence is like black ice on the roads: pilots often don't know when they'll hit a pocket, and a jet can drop a hundred metres in a few seconds as the currents slam the plane down.
But the good news is: if you're buckled in, the chances of injury during turbulence are almost nil. Lesson well learnt.
[photos thanx to Alan Cross]

No comments: