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Will Incidents of Unexpected Midair Turbulence Only Get More Frequent and More Severe?

| Jun 11, 2018 | Aviation Accidents |

One recent flight departing from Chicago’s Midway Airport arrived at its destination, but not before an incident of turbulence caused flight attendants to suffer injuries. This latest example of the potential dangers that flight attendants face in the air is something that could become more common if some scientists are correct. According to reports in and, climate change may be fueling more turbulent air and could well create a future in which these incidents of “clear-air turbulence” happen more often and occur with greater severity. Due to the requirements of their jobs, this could pose a particularly high risk for flight attendants. Whenever you’ve suffered a midair injury, it is important that you talk to an Illinois plane accident attorney right away to protect your rights.

That recent flight was a relatively short one – a Southwest Airlines flight going only to Minneapolis-St. Paul. The flight encountered unexpected turbulence at some point along the path. Although the airline did not disclose to the media which duties the cabin crew was performing when the turbulence struck, the turbulence injured three flight attendants and no passengers.

Some of these instances of unexpected severe turbulence are events known as “clear-air turbulence.” This is a type of turbulence, as a meteorologist explained in a KARE TV report on the Southwest flight, “where air is moving aloft. You can’t see it because there isn’t a cloud developing.” Clear-air turbulence is difficult for both pilots and meteorologists to identify. Without something visible or measurements they can identify, pilots often cannot anticipate clear-air turbulence until it happens. Without visible indicators like clouds, meteorologists often cannot predict it either. Meteorologists have computer models, but those only give them a general idea, according to the KARE report.

Some sources believe that incidences of severe unexpected turbulence will only continue to increase in the future. Two meteorology professors published an article in indicating that occurrences of injury-causing severe clear-air turbulence will go up as a result of anthropogenic (man-caused) climate change. A CNN report from May indicated that climate change was enhancing the north-south temperature difference that fuels the jet stream. The stronger the jet stream, the more frequent and more severe are the instances of clear-air turbulence, according to the report.

The circumstances surrounding most clear-air turbulence events pose the greatest risk of injury to flight attendants. Airline passengers are instructed, sometimes repeatedly, to keep their seat belts on at all times unless the seat-belt light is off, and they are getting up for a reason. As a result, pilots and passengers are often protected by seat belts when clear-air turbulence unexpectedly hits. Flight attendants, on the other hand, are not only not belted in, but also they are often standing through much of the flight while serving the passengers on board. Given that these events often occur with no warning and violently shake the airplane, the risk to flight attendants is very profound.

Whether you are a flight attendant, pilot, or passenger, if you suffered an injury during a flight, it is essential to consult with knowledgeable injury counsel about your situation. Contact the skilled Chicago plane accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca for experienced counsel and personalized attention to help you seek the compensation you deserve. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 312-724-5846 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

What do I do when I am injured at work?, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Aug. 15, 2017

Turbulence and Injuries to Airline Cabin Crews, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, July 6, 2017