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Old Feb 2, 05, 6:45 am   #1
 
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How turbulant are the USA to Europe flights across the Atlantic?

I don't do well in turbulance and I was wondering how strong of a sedative I should request to have on hand for a trans-atlantic flight..... I heard the flights across the Pacific can be turbulant ( a friend is a flight attendant who flies that route regularly).....but I have not heard anything about flights to Europe....
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Old Feb 2, 05, 7:03 am   #2
 
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David, don't worry, the flights across the North Atlantic are some of the least troubled by turbulence - which is not to say I have never experienced it of course, but I can't remember the last time.

Generally areas near the Poles are much better than areas near the Equator. I've also heard about running into stuff across the Pacific as well (but possibly it's on Australia flights across the Equator).

If you're coming from the West Coast there can sometimes be a bit across the Rockies but that's it for predictability.

It's the same when I go from London through Hong Kong to Australia - always nice across Siberia, any unsteady part comes in the Tropics across Indonesia and Northern Australia.
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Old Feb 2, 05, 7:43 am   #3
 
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Not much turbulence

I fly between the U.S. and Europe several times a year, and I rarely experience any turbulence on those flights. The big commercial planes are very sturdy, and the turbulence is less apparent in those planes than the ones they use for domestic flights.
Last time I flew across the Atlantic, they warned us that there was turbulence ahead, but we never even felt it.
So don't worry. Enjoy your flight - and the free meals and drinks!
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Old Feb 2, 05, 8:08 am   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austin_queenbee
Enjoy your flight - and the free meals and drinks!
Alas, no more free drinks (at least in coach!)
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Old Feb 2, 05, 8:21 am   #5
 
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I fly the Atlantic regularly and I honestly cannot remember ever having anything more than the mildest of turbulence.

The worst turbulence for me always seems to be when travelling between the UK and Spain, have no idea why.
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Old Feb 2, 05, 9:07 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 53flyer
Alas, no more free drinks (at least in coach!)
If you're airline won't give you free drinks, change your airline!
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Old Feb 2, 05, 9:09 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 53flyer
Alas, no more free drinks (at least in coach!)
Of course there are, plenty of free hospitality, food and drink for everyone on board.

Just not on US-based airlines
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Old Feb 2, 05, 9:19 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david4455
I don't do well in turbulance and I was wondering how strong of a sedative I should request to have on hand for a trans-atlantic flight..... I heard the flights across the Pacific can be turbulant ( a friend is a flight attendant who flies that route regularly).....but I have not heard anything about flights to Europe....
Check out this website from NOAA that has clear air turbulence forecasts for N. America, the Atlantic and the Pacific. It shows where the likelyhood of clear air turbulence might occur. Check it out about a day before your flight to get an idea of what to expect. Granted, this only covers clear air turbulence, not turbulence caused by clouds and weather systems, but it useful nonetheless.
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Old Feb 2, 05, 9:41 am   #9
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For the most part, the flights are pretty smooth. I've had a few nasty ones where there has been moderate to occasional severe chop for quite awhile, but that is the exception. Often from SFO to LHR, the seatbelt sign goes off shortly after takeoff and doesn't come on again until the near-never-ending hold pattern near LHR.
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Old Feb 2, 05, 10:21 am   #10
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My experience has been the same as Eastbay1K -- usually smooth, but the occassional brief humdinger.
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Old Feb 2, 05, 10:35 am   #11
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We hit serious chop over New Foundland going IAD-LHR for about 100 miles, but then it smoothed out for the rest of the flight. LHR-LAX also had some serious chop crossing into Canada, but for the most part it was smooth.

Nothing too severe, but they did stop service on the outbound for a bit and it was wise to finish your drink.
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Old Feb 2, 05, 10:38 am   #12
 
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I have experienced more turbulence flying east coast to west coast within the USA than what I experienced fly across the Atlantic to Europe. You should be fine.
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Old Feb 2, 05, 12:57 pm   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olde hornet
I have experienced more turbulence flying east coast to west coast within the USA than what I experienced fly across the Atlantic to Europe. You should be fine.
Concur 100 percent. Part of the reason may be that the North Atlantic has no mountain ranges. (Above water, that is.)
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Old Feb 2, 05, 3:31 pm   #14
 
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What is severe turbulance.......the drink jiggling?

Any turbulance that makes the drink on my tray jiggle is severe in my mind... what happens in severe turulance that you all are describing....
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Old Feb 2, 05, 4:55 pm   #15
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Most air passengers will never be (un)lucky enough to be in severe turbulence, as properly defined. Some "light" turbulence will be enough to spill drinks. Here's one set of definitions (Canadian):-

Light Turbulence
Aircraft Reaction
Turbulence that momentarily causes slight, erratic changes in altitude and/or attitude (pitch. roll, yaw). Report as "Light Turbulence".
OR
Turbulence that causes slight, rapid and somewhat rhythmic bumpiness without appreciable changes in altitude or attitude. Report as "Light Chop".

Reaction Inside Aircraft
Occupants may feel a slight strain against seat belts or shoulder straps. Unsecured objects may be displaced slightly. Food service may be conducted and little or no difficulty is encountered in walking.

Moderate Turbulence
Aircraft Reaction
Turbulence that is similar to Light Turbulence but of greater intensity. Changes in altitude and/or attitude occur but the aircraft remains in positive control at all times. it usually causes variations in indicated airspeed. Report as "Moderate Turbulence".
OR
Turbulence that is similar to Light Chop but of greater intensity. It causes rapid bumps or jolts without appreciable changes in aircraft altitude or attitude. Report as "Moderate Chop".

Reaction Inside Aircraft
Occupants feel definite strains against seat belts or shoulder straps. Unsecured objects are dislodged. Food service and walking are difficult.

Severe Turbulence
Aircraft Reaction
Turbulence that causes large, abrupt changes in altitude and/or attitude. It usually causes large variations in indicated airspeed. Aircraft may be momentarily out of control. Report as "Severe Turbulence".

Reaction Inside Aircraft
Occupants are forced violently against seat belts or shoulder straps. Unsecured objects are tossed about. Food service and walking impossible.
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Last edited by Globaliser; Feb 2, 05 at 5:30 pm. Reason: Get that formatting under control!
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