Lovely flight from Houston to DCA


Lifetime Elite
Back on April 4, 2009, I was headed to DC with a group of students from Mexico. Our flight from Mexico City to Houston was normal. We circled the airport for a while and it was a little bumpy, but nothing awful. It was more the circling that got boring and frustrating than turbulence that bothered me. Immigration in Houston was a long long process and we were very late for our next flight, but lucky for us (at least I thought that at the time) the connecting flight had been delayed over an hour. The first part of the flight was fine. I actually wasn't worried about this flight. Houston to DC is not a long flight and one I've always considered routine. However, as they were giving out the food, the plane hit some very light turbulence. We were all the way in the back, so we felt every little bump. Suddenly, right as the food cart got to my row (the last row), we hit some violent bumps. The plane dropped suddenly and moved from side to side. The food car flight attendant fell to the ground. The flight attendant that was still in the back of the plane right between the bathrooms also fell down. Food was thrown off trays, people freaked out, and I was gripping the armrests. I turned around (first and only time I've done this) and asked the flight attendant who was now bracing herself on her knees between the two bathrooms whether or not this was normal. She said, "Yes, it's just bad turbulence." So at that point, what could I do? I didn't eat my cruddy Continental box lunch. We had a very bumpy flight for probably another half hour or 45 minutes, although it felt like more. When we finally landed at DCA, the plane hit the runway pretty roughly which was just how a flight like that should end, and the pilot finally came on the speaker which he hadn't done all flight. He apologized for the rough ride saying it was bad at all altitudes because of bad weather over Tennessee. When we got to our hotel, by chance I landed on the weather channel where there were Tornado WARNINGS in parts of Tennessee. It would appear we hit some pretty wicked winds near those storms. That flight nearly ruined me as a flyer. I've gotten past it for the most part. I fly again from Mexico City to Atlanta, then onto Richmond, Virginia in July. Hopefully it will be an uneventful flight. I have flown since then, but I think since that turbulence was so ridiculously bad on my scale that the rest of my flights, (2 or 3 since then) just haven't seemed that bad.


New member
The pilot should've made an announcement and kept the passengers in the loop. I would have been livid if not a word was spoken by the pilot during 45 minutes of turbulence. That's not acceptable to me at all. I would've been a basketcase in turbulence like that!


Lifetime Elite
Here's my deal on that. I figure if they're not talking to me they have one of two reasons.

1. There focuses on what they're doing and on getting us out of the turbulence. If that's the case, they can continue being focused.

2. They're kicked back not worrying about it. While I wish they would talk to me, if they're not worried about it, I probably shouldn't be.

I always enjoy my flights more when the pilot communicates with the passengers, but I also know that doesn't always happen. That's why I really like United flights because you can listen in on the radio chatter. Really interesting and suprisingly calming.


Staff member
Turbulence is an order of magnitude worse in the back. Try to sit over the wing, or forward of the wing if you can.

and as you said
I have flown since then, but I think since that turbulence was so ridiculously bad on my scale that the rest of my flights, (2 or 3 since then) just haven't seemed that bad.


Lifetime Elite
I agree wholeheartedly that you feel turbulence less when seated over the wing. I think I was that far back because I needed 7 tickets together and that was the only way I could do it. Chances are if I had been over the wing, it wouldn't have been nearly as bad. It would be interesting to have seen PIREPS for that day, but I didn't know about this site then. It was either April 3rd or 4th of 2009. I looked online to see if I could find historical data going back that far but couldn't. I'd just be curious to see if I was one of the "lucky" few that got to fly through severe turbulence or if it was simply moderate with me being a wimp about it.


Super Lifetime Elite
You can go to this site which has archives for clear air turbulence. On April 4th, it looks like there was some stuff over Tennessee/North Carolina...
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Lifetime Elite
That at least shows something was there or at least predicted to be there. I'd be interested to see if my pilot of other pilots reported the turbulence and if so, what level it was. I really thought it was the 4th of April, but it could have been the 5th. I'd have to check my passport. Flying back to the states in 2 weeks. Hopefully I have an uneventful flight. We shall see. Thanks for the link.