Hello Captain Lim,
My name is Steven. I really want to fly to England. If I know, I would like to go on the Boeing 777 but I am really afraid of the length of the ride - 6 hours out and 7 hours coming back.
I am really nervous when the airplane gets really bumpy. I feel trapped and I want to get off. I am trying to get someone to go with me to England so that I will at least feel better.
Do you think flights to England are usually bumpy? One friend told me that it isn't and another one said it?s really bad coming back. What is the average speed of the plane going outbound and return? Please tell me something to make me feel like going because I really want to go but I am so intimidated by the flight.
Once, I had a bad experience coming back from Jamaica when the plane took a little dip. In fact, I was already panicking when the plane was still at the gate. When it took off, I felt a little better, but I was still on the edge just waiting for the turbulence to happen.
Please tell me something encouraging. Thank you.
You are not alone in this world having such an anxiety; one in every three people feels the way you do when about to embark on a flight. They feel anxious, firstly, because of the helplessness of not being in control of the situation, and secondly, they do not understand the how's and why's about flying. Many studies have shown that the more you understand, the less you become fearful of flying.
The number one worry I get from air travelers in my site is about turbulence. I agree that flying in turbulence is uncomfortable and unnatural for a man accustomed to things on the ground. But to expect a flight free of turbulence is like hoping that your ride on a boat will always be smooth. So you can expect some bumps on you way to England and back. Pilots have experienced turbulence (rated from light, moderate, severe and extreme) hundreds of times. They get used to it, but that doesn't mean they like it. Rest assured that they make every effort to avoid them and I have often mentioned, turbulence (at least up to severe) is not a safety issue but one of discomfort. It doesn't rip the wings off nor would it put the plane out of control of your pilot. Of course, in some severe turbulence, one can get hurt when not properly strapped in. Make sure you fasten your seat belts the moment the signs are switched on!
Flights to England across the Atlantic are not necessary always bumpy. It all depends on the frontal system on the day of your flight. The Easterly flight will always be faster than your return flight because of the jet streams. The average ground speed outbound would be typically 620 mph and return, 500 mph on the Boeing 777. The airways are slightly varied everyday, partly because of the weather system or the jet streams.
While you can't escape from the slight bumpiness that comes with turbulence, you can minimize your discomfort by flying in the morning where the air is smoother; choosing a seat near the middle of the plane (at the axis where tilt cause by turbulence is less) and if you are within the USA, you might want to check the CAT (Clear Air Turbulence) forecast here (for assurance sake) before you proceed on your flight.
Remember, knowing what is and what isn't dangerous will go a long way in reducing your flying fears. Please read through many similar FAQ in my site. Broaden your knowledge, and soon you will get to enjoy all your flights.
I wish you a pleasant journey to England :-).