When air turns choppy -- perhaps when warm air is rising through cooler air, or a mountain range disrupts air currents -- the plane rises and falls, like a yacht on a heaving sea. It won’t knock a plane out of the sky, or even flip it. But in the moment, it can feel like the end of the world.
"I was flying from Miami to London, and while serving beverages in economy, we hit a few mild bumps," says one flight attendant with American Airlines. "It was nothing to be concerned about. After no bumps for about 30 seconds, all hell broke loose. We hit severe turbulence. My coworker and I were both tossed upwards, including our serving carts. I landed on both feet, much to my surprise, and I yelled at passengers to grab my arms to keep me grounded. Mother Nature tossed us around for about 30 seconds before the rocking and rolling subsided. I still don't know how I landed on my feet like a gymnast, because that situation could have been a really ugly, career-ending situation."