If you’re still awake at this time, you may have heard on the interwebs/twitterverse that there was a Thai flight that encountered some air turbulence:
Well, I was on the flight. I can say definitely the most insane flight of my life. Definitely it was very dangerous. The period of time where I got freaked out was actually much shorter. It was probably around 3-5 seconds. But now that I look back at the moment, I feel so lucky not being injured.
I got off my Thai A380 First Class Flight a few hours ago. A few days ago I made a post about Thai old (747) First, and I was write about how TG A380 F completely blows the old product out of the water. I was going to rave about how fabulous the flight was, with the awesome bathrooms, meal service, and hard/soft product. It was actually a really fantastic flight … except for that crazy turbulence.
Obviously I’ve not flown as much as several others bloggers here. Now that I am off the flight, all I can say is that it’s important to look at the big picture. You can have perfect SQ/CX-style service, EK-bling showers, TG-ground services, and OZ/LX dining. In the end, however, it all doesn’t matter because at the end of the day you want to get off your flight intact. By no means do I think that this incident has changed my opinion of Thai or flying in general. These incidents happen and as with this one I don’t think it was as a fault of any human or aircraft involved. But that honestly was the scariest flight of my life, no question.
Here is an article from the Bangkok Post about the incident. While I haven’t flown a lot, I completely understand the terror there is similar to Ben’s flight (given that I was flying BKK-HKG as well!) although his experience with Royal Jordanian was completely different. But nonetheless being in any sort of crazy flying is insane and air turbulence is just as scary. I’ve sent Thai an email and I will update if there’s an official response.
I think it happened around 20 – 40 minutes from departure. I’m not sure whether the seat belt sign was on, but I was in my seat with the buckle unfastened because I was searching through my laptop bag (which I had just taken from the overhead compartment) looking for my iPhone 5 charger (which I have realized I left in the Thai First Lounge in Bangkok). I was actually pretty had at myself for having been so forgetful, and in hindsight it is one of the least of my worries at the moment.
So now that the adrenaline has for the most part disappeared and my heart has stopped pounding out of my chest, I remember there was this split second when the plane dipped. With regular turbulence, the plane would go back up so it would there would be a bumpy few seconds and the water in the glasses shaking. But I think that the flight keep dipping. And everything not buckled down, including me, just flew up to the height of the overhead bins. The laptop bag which was in my hands, flew up with me and landed 2 feet away from my seat, with the menus, pens, and wire which I had been keep strewn all over the floor. Somehow, and I still don’t know how lucky I am I bonked my head on the overhead bin and landed in my seat.
Thankfully there wasn’t too much cutlery and china in the cabin or else it would have been much worse. But those few seconds, now that I think back to it, was incredibly scary. Absolutely insanely horrifying and right out of a movie. Then there was silence in the cabin for around 20 seconds before the crew and captain made an announcement for a doctor. But for the rest of the descent, I was horribly nervous, probably from the adrenaline rushing through my veins.
I think what happened was what was called clear air turbulence (similar to the Singapore Airlines flight mentioned by several Boardingarea bloggers earlier), which is not detectable by the airplane radar system. I think it was a much smaller scale but nonetheless that was a terrifying experience. The fact that now I’m reading that there were up to 30 injuries, which just makes me think how lucky I am.
The flight crew was also spectacular and it was evident that some of them had twisted/sprained/broken something and yet they continued to patrol the cabin just to make sure everything and everyone was alright even when some of them clearly had injuries. The way they carried themselves was just spectacular and they attempted to conceal their pain and distress. I really hope they are okay.
It’s probably doesn’t seem that bad, but it was like being in a roller coaster without any seat belt and for a second I recall several objects flying up with me for the tiniest of moments just like in any movie. It was unbelievably surreal. Just to imagine the force of some object thrown up into the air, I saw this crack in the A380 after we touched down.
There were also ambulances/fire trucks waiting at our gate after they we docked to the jetway. All I can say is that I am honestly glad I am alive and extremely thankful that my mom was buckled at the moment and she is fine except for some sore shoulders, and while we can wish for caviar and Dom and all that all we want is to be safe and sometimes nothing can stop weather from wreaking havoc on planes.
I think with most events there are always a chain of events/decisions preceding it. If the flight had not run into this pocket of air, then this wouldn’t have happened. If I wasn’t looking for my iPhone charger I wouldn’t have been unbuckled. If I had been buckled into my seat there would be a much lower chance of me being injured. If that pocket of air was a bit bigger and I got thrown across the cabin…
All I can think is what if and part of me wants to just not look back. I do have another pair of flights in less than 23 hours so I’m just going to try and not think about it.