As a gypsetter, you will always find yourself gypsetting to your next destination on an airplane. But what happens when you’re on turbulence? A really bad one? Like Death himself is just waiting around the corner? What should you do to stay calm?
Well, here’s my near-death story.
Our plane shuddered as it entered turbulence. I’ve taken so many flights by now that I know it’s just normal specially if the weather is bad. My initial reaction was to ignore it. But in this flight from Manila to Madrid via Jeddah, it is not just some turbulence.
I thought that this was the day that I will die.
When we started crossing the Bay of Bengal, our plane started shuddering like a bird freezing from the -41 degree Celsius temperature outside. I looked out the window and I couldn’t see anything. It seemed like we were inside stormy clouds as all I can see were sporadic flashes of lightning and gray swirls of clouds.
I was eating my first dinner during this time and the plane was shuddering intensely my half-filled cup of tea was spilling its dark, warm liquid on my dinner tray.
Fifteen minutes of this and I started feeling panicky. And I know it was not just me because everyone stopped eating and sat tensely, probably in prayer.
And then the turbulence stopped for awhile and we were able to finish our dinner.
And then it came back again. And this time, it would not stop.
I looked at my clock and at our route map to see where we were. We were still crossing the Bay of Bengal and it was 12:35 am on my watch. Still a long way to go.
I felt really scared because for 30 minutes straight, our plane was shuddering non-stop, bumping up and down even. The kind of bump that makes your heart skip a beat because of split-second weightlessness.
And it went on like this for an hour. I thought when we will be hovering over India, it would be over. But it was far from over.
We were already slicing India in half and our plane was far from steady. A severe headache was squeezing on my temples. My chest was painful because it compressed more than normal. My seat mates were also shifty. No one was able to sleep through this.
“Dear Buddah, I think we will nose-dive to the Arabian Sea and die.”
I was so scared I was teary eyed. I was thinking of my mom who I didn’t see to say goodbye before I left. I was thinking of my family and how devastated they would be. I was thinking of you and our future that will never be.
There were so many things running through my mind. And then I decided that I need to do something else to get it off my mind. It was already more than an hour and we were still in turbulence.
At some point during the turbulence, I went to the bathroom to take a pee. After washing my hands, I saw a moisturizer bottle and placed copious amount of it on my hands. I guess this is the way I cope? I moisturize my hands.
When I went out, the flight attendant was shouting at me to get back to my seat immediately. If everything is fine, they would still be smiling and act calmly. Not this one. This one was a shouter. When flight attendants reach the point of freaking out, that freaks me out more.
We were in turbulence for almost 3 hours. It was only when we were in the Middle East that it stopped. This was the scariest flight of my life. I couldn’t wait to get out of the plane. I even feel like this might have traumatized me a little.
So what should you do to stay calm if you’re in turbulence? Here are 4 things you can do when you find yourself in this kind of situation.
4 Things To Do To Stay Calm During Turbulence
1. Pay attention to the “fasten seatbelt” sign and always follow crew-member instructions. Know that airliners are built to endure stresses far greater than any turbulence you’re likely to encounter. While you may get bumped around a bit, rest assured that you’re safe, and your pilots are doing everything in their power to provide you with the smoothest possible ride. It seemed that my pilots were very competent.
2. Breathe deeply 10 times and tell yourself that “this, too, shall pass”. The truth is that flying is the safest way to travel. Statistics shows that there are more deaths by traveling on land than on air. So keep calm and remind yourself of this fact.
3. Stop thinking about dying. I know I didn’t do this myself but I did eventually to keep my nerves in control by doing the next advice.
4. Get busy. Read a book. This will keep your mind busy and not make it think of horrible scenarios. Or watch a movie in your entertainment system. Comedy is highly recommended at this point. Play a game in your laptop or smartphone. Whatever. Just do something to keep your mind busy.
Have you ever been in a turbulence? What do you do to stay calm?