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Airplane Turbulence Injures Passengers

The Anastopoulo Law Firm

Flying has long been considered one of the fastest, most convenient forms of travel. Even with higher levels of security, the ability to travel to the destination of your choice within a matter of hours versus days is a luxury that is increasingly affordable. As competition among airlines results in fare decreases and credit cards offer free miles for travelers, most of us feel fairly secure in booking a flight rather than driving to our next out of town meeting, family reunion, or getaway vacation.

At the same time, even first time flyers are familiar with experiencing turbulence during a flight. While most people think of minor bumps, shakes and jolts as just a minor if somewhat nerve wracking inconvenience, there have been numerous cases over the past year of injuries caused by airplane turbulence. Understanding the different types of turbulence that can occur and how to deal with it can help ensure you reach your destination safely.

Frequency and Causes of Airplane Turbulence

While airline turbulence is often considered a minor inconvenience, recent headlines suggest that passenger injuries due to turbulence may be more common than we might think. A September 2015 incident involved five American Airlines passengers injured by turbulence on a flight to Miami. Just a few weeks prior, 15 passengers were injured on a flight from Hawaii to the Philippines. A July 2015 turbulence incident injured two flight attendants and a passenger on a flight into Dulles airport in Washington, and two passengers were taken to local hospitals as the result of violent turbulence on an April 2015 Delta flight from Paris to Newark.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), turbulence is air movement that is not visible and occurs unpredictably. The causes of in-flight turbulence include:

  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Jet streams
  • Air around mountains
  • Cold or warm weather fronts
  • Thunderstorms

Many times, pilots have an indication that they may encounter turbulence based on weather reports and wind analysis, and oncoming turbulence may be detected by radar. Other times, turbulence occurs for no known reason. Referred to as ‘clear sky’ turbulence, this is the most dangerous type of turbulence. Pilots have no indications that a rough spot lies ahead, and in turn are unable to warn passengers.

Avoiding Injuries During In-Flight Turbulence

While the FAA assures passengers that in-flight turbulence is both normal and common, it does acknowledge it can be dangerous to passengers. Follow these safety tips to avoid injuries caused by turbulence:

  • Keep your seat belt buckled at all times
  • Pay attention to the safety briefing at the beginning of your flight
  • Listen carefully for any additional directions provided by flight attendants during the flight
  • Adhere to the airline’s carry on restrictions
  • Use an approved child safety seat for children under the age of two

Our Office Can Help You Recover

If you or someone you love has been hurt by airplane turbulence, contact our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys today. We understand the serious nature of the injuries caused by these types of accidents. We deal with both airlines and their insurers, and can help you get the compensation you deserve. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, Anastopoulo Law Firm is prepared to help. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation!


North Charleston, SC

2170 Ashley Phosphate Rd, 3rd Floor
North Charleston, SC 29406
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Phone: (843) 202-4511

Charleston, SC

32 Ann Street
Charleston, SC 29403
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Phone: (843) 202-4357

Columbia, SC

1201 Main Street Ste. 1100
Columbia, SC 29201
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Phone: (803) 205-2595

Myrtle Beach, SC

2411 N. Oak Street Ste. 407,
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
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Phone: (843) 202-4776

Florence, SC

150 W. Evans Street
Florence, SC 29501
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Phone: (843) 202-4791

Greenville, SC

418 River Street
Greenville, SC 29601
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Phone: (864) 207-4042

Wilmington, NC

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Wilmington, NC 28405
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Phone: (910) 294-3242

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525 North Tryon Street, Ste. 1600
Charlotte, NC 28202
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