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SEA to HKG route - smooth ride?

SEA to HKG route - smooth ride?

Old Jul 15, 19, 12:01 am
  #1  
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SEA to HKG route - smooth ride?

Hi all, I'm new on here and I'm quite the nervous flyer. By that I mean I have a fear of it and panic at the sign of any turbulence. I'm basically terrified getting on an int'l flight from SEA to HKG soon, as the last time I flew this route was 8-9 years ago. My fear of flying really came on in the last 5 years or so with all of the plane crashes/turbulence incidents on the news. I know flying is one of the safest routes of transportation, but even so I can't help but thinking of the worst and get scared.

My question is, for those who frequent asia from the west coast or do the SEA to HKG route, how is it? I know it's a hard question to answer and really depends on timing....but looking for some reassurance/comfort from experienced flyers and what I can expect? I'm hoping for a smooth ride of course....

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jul 15, 19, 7:54 pm
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While I have a private pilot license, I'm not knowledgeable enough to answer this kind of question. You will experience bumps, there's no way around that. Tropical areas during summer time can be bad and flying thru the jet stream can be bumpy. Don't forget you're going into a hurricane zone which spans pretty wide in the west Pacific. So here are some tips from a former frequent flyer: buckle up all the time! Even if you're just sitting there reading a book or watching the IFE. The stories you hear about turbulence injuries all comes from people not buckled in. Yes, Clear Air Turbulence can't be detected and if you are up and about to use the washroom, you're out of luck. It won't probably won't crash during turbulence incidents, is there a chance of being mishandled, yes, but the chances are pretty low. Look at the crashes in the last 5 years and see which operators are involved. How often you see the US big 3, CX, JAL, ANA, CI, and EVA having a major incident? Look up safety ratings online if you need a piece of mind. Finally, read the safety instructions a few times, memorize how many rows you are from the exit, ware pants and shoes (not shorts, skirts, crocs, sandals, high heels).
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Old Jul 15, 19, 8:17 pm
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Originally Posted by CanadianMoocow View Post
While I have a private pilot license, I'm not knowledgeable enough to answer this kind of question. You will experience bumps, there's no way around that. Tropical areas during summer time can be bad and flying thru the jet stream can be bumpy. Don't forget you're going into a hurricane zone which spans pretty wide in the west Pacific. So here are some tips from a former frequent flyer: buckle up all the time! Even if you're just sitting there reading a book or watching the IFE. The stories you hear about turbulence injuries all comes from people not buckled in. Yes, Clear Air Turbulence can't be detected and if you are up and about to use the washroom, you're out of luck. It won't probably won't crash during turbulence incidents, is there a chance of being mishandled, yes, but the chances are pretty low. Look at the crashes in the last 5 years and see which operators are involved. How often you see the US big 3, CX, JAL, ANA, CI, and EVA having a major incident? Look up safety ratings online if you need a piece of mind. Finally, read the safety instructions a few times, memorize how many rows you are from the exit, ware pants and shoes (not shorts, skirts, crocs, sandals, high heels).
Three things I can never understand people do on planes:

1. Not wearing seat belts at all times
2.Wearing shorts on flights. Why you ask? If you have to slide down Emerg. exit you will get a friction burn. not pretty and hurts like hell!
3. Going to washroom barefeet, (YUCK)
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Old Jul 15, 19, 10:21 pm
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Originally Posted by eagle215 View Post
Three things I can never understand people do on planes:

1. Not wearing seat belts at all times
2.Wearing shorts on flights. Why you ask? If you have to slide down Emerg. exit you will get a friction burn. not pretty and hurts like hell!
3. Going to washroom barefeet, (YUCK)
Seat belts are restricting and uncomfortable, especially in a seat will poor range of adjustment. Planes are stuffy and hot, especially the Asian lines that have the temps turned way up. Yes, I don't understand why people go to the washroom in the socks and step in people's pee. If men have a problem aiming (guilty of that myself) on land, think about how bad it is on a bumpy plane ride.

My fear of bumpy ride somewhat went away when I started flight training. Turbulence in a small Piper or Cessna can feel way worst than riding in an airliner. Plus learning to recover from stalls and spins kind of make minor turbulence a cake walk.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 12:42 am
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Lol, not a super reassuring response with "it probably won't crash, but if mishandled, yes"...yikes. I've done some research, as I figured millions fly every year and knowledge is power. You never know what pilot you're going to get....the last several severe turbulence was just that, but all flights were able to land safely. As you said, there are injuries, but for those not buckled. I stay buckled the entire time I fly unless I absolutely have to go to the restroom, even then I avoid doing so.

We will be flying Cathay Pacific and they are well rated. I'm hoping to learn on here from experienced flyers what it's been like, why they are not nervous about it, and hopefully learn more about how safe flying is by understanding that turbulence essentially can't bring a plane down....unfortunately your post didn't make me feel any better about that...
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Old Jul 16, 19, 3:07 pm
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If you're flying CX then you shouldn't have to worry about the pilots mishandling the situation. I'm not going to sugar coat the situation because pilots have mishandle poor weather situation before either by mistake or by cowboy attitude. This is simply a chance you're taking every time you decide to fly. It is out of your control much like how temperature and air circulation works. If you are in the Seattle area, it appears there is a clinic to address the fear of flying, "Fear of Flying Clinic Seattle". They may be better at easing your concern than me. As I said previously, I got less nervous when I started flight training but I wasn't scared to start with. It's not just the sensation of flying a small plane in choppy and hot conditions but also attending ground school to learn about basic theory of aerodynamics and weather conditions that helped.

Here are the reasons why I don't think turbulence will end up in the worst case:
1. Airplane designs have come a long way, it takes a lot to break things.
2. Pilots at the safer airlines generally have better training, they know the limits of the airplane, the limits are well published by manufacturers, for example, the max speed the plane should fly at during gusty conditions (Va & Vb).
3. Those squeaking sound during turbulence most likely come from the interior fittings. Think about how your car squeaks when it goes over bumps. Is your engine going to drop out from under your car? No. It is the door panels and seats that are making that squeaking sound as they rub against each other and the metal structure.
4. Airliners usually have at least 1 backup to all critical system.
5. The sensation of having your seat drop out of you / the plane fell like 3000 ft a second comes from the spike in vertical acceleration. You are not glue to the seat but the seat is bolted to the plane. So when the plane drops a bit, your body isn't for a brief moment which gives you the sensation of falling like 3000 ft in a second.

This article seem interesting, Point #4 , pick a flight earlier in the day during summer time to avoid thermal related turbulence. If I recall correctly, the new CX SEA->HKG flight leaves around 1AM and arrives around 5AM in HKG. So in theory, it should be a bit calmer than the afternoon flights we get in Vancouver.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/trave...ence/12301043/
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Old Jul 17, 19, 1:00 am
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Thanks for your detailed reply, I appreciate it. My anxiety really began about 5 or so years ago and progressively got worse as the media makes it easy to hear about the severe turbulence incidents or plane crashes. Especially recently there's been a few planes with incidents of hitting severe turbulence. So trying to educate myself and understand flying better in hopes that it will reset my thinking. And also hearing the experiences of frequent flyers helps as well....Many thanks
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Old Jul 17, 19, 2:02 am
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I don't know if this will help you or scare you, but this video of the Boeing 777 wing test shows you just how much stress the wings can take.

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Old Jul 17, 19, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by prezapwr03 View Post
I'm basically terrified getting on an int'l flight
People constantly exaggerate things, but if you are truly terrified of flying, then don't. It's not worth risking your mental health.
I assume you would be flying round trip, so...yeah. You would have to do it twice.

I would probably talk to your current mental health specialist about this. They can prescribe you medicine if you must take this trip.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 11:23 am
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Originally Posted by eagle215 View Post
Three things I can never understand people do on planes:

2.Wearing shorts on flights. Why you ask? If you have to slide down Emerg. exit you will get a friction burn. not pretty and hurts like hell!
If we're at the point where I'm having to exit the aircraft via an emergency slide, I think the friction burn is going to be a pretty minor worry of mine. I'll continue to wear shorts on long haul flights instead of sticking with jeans in case we have an emergency event.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 11:40 am
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
People constantly exaggerate things, but if you are truly terrified of flying, then don't. It's not worth risking your mental health.
I assume you would be flying round trip, so...yeah. You would have to do it twice.

I would probably talk to your current mental health specialist about this. They can prescribe you medicine if you must take this trip.
What makes you think the OP has a ‘mental health specialist’?!?
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Old Jul 17, 19, 10:02 pm
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Originally Posted by prezapwr03 View Post
I'm hoping for a smooth ride of course....
OP - my advice is to take UA instead of CX.

Weather condition is something we can never change. When it happens, it happens. However, the airline's policy actually impacts how good or bad the flight can be. Specifically, not all airlines deviate the designated flight paths to avoid weather.

Why I would say UA? I frequently fly to the area where typhoons are originated (SFO-HNL-GUM-HKG). Still I was able to enjoy a smooth ride with limited impact by the weather. Also, I took off twice from HKG under severe weather. Despite the wind and rain, they were still relatively smooth.

Although old, I do believe OP you are trying to avoid something like this:

https://globalnews.ca/video/1158700/...pacific-flight

Then I won't take CX.

Originally Posted by CanadianMoocow View Post
Seat belts are restricting and uncomfortable, especially in a seat will poor range of adjustment.
No one tells you to make it as tight as possible.

Also - even you loose up the seat belt a little, but still buckled up, the seat belt can still give you some protections.
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Old Jul 18, 19, 1:25 am
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It's interesting you point out UA vs CX. I did fly UA once upon a time very long ago. I don't believe they are the best. CX has been ranked as top safest airline and run many asia runs. I don't think airlines matter too much as long as both have well trained pilots. Emirates is ranked high but recently ran into a severe turbulence event...same with Air Canada. I can only wish for good luck. The peace of mind is....all those flights appeared to have landed safely.

But good to know you have had smooth flights while frequently flying to that region even with typhoons and such. That is reassuring.
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Old Jul 18, 19, 1:27 am
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I generally avoid flying and haven't flown internationally since I became unfortunately, so yes I do avoid it. However I am making this trip to attend a funeral as my grandma passed away and it is important to me and the family that I am there, so it is out of necessity.

I don't have a current mental health specialist as I don't have a mental condition simply because I have a fear of flying. I usually just don't fly and I'm fine. I've already talked to my GP and they have prescribed something to help with anxiety.
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Old Jul 18, 19, 1:28 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post


What makes you think the OP has a ‘mental health specialist’?!?
Right??? Lol
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