Last week I was on a plane for the first time in two years. As we were strapping in and preparing for take-off, the flight attendants walked us through the familiar paces—demonstrating how to buckle your seat belt (in 2018, can’t we skip that one?), the location of the exit doors, and how to use the yellow mask in the case of a loss of cabin pressure.
It’s the same spiel every time…“please locate the nearest exit, keeping in mind that it might be behind you. Secure your own mask before helping others. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight.” I like the sameness of this opening. It feels like an incantation warding off disaster.
After the flight attendant explains the mysteries of buckling the seat belt, she mentions that while you can take it off when indicated to “move about the cabin,” (i.e. go to the bathroom), you should always keep it on while seated in case “we experience unexpected turbulence.”
Except this time, the script was different.
It seems we were not at risk of experience turbulence on this flight, but rough air.
Turbulence, that’s one thing. I can handle a little turbulence.
But rough air?
That sounds ominous.
Don’t you think?
Google doesn’t. While there wasn’t any official word, the most consistent speculation on the Airline Pilot Central forums (yes, such a website exists) is that the word turbulence was frightening passengers and so Delta airlines is now using the term rough air.
I hope that’s true, and that the user who theorized that too many people were confusing turbulence with flatulence is dead wrong.
But in 2018, I’m not so sure.
So next time you travel on Delta, enjoy your flatulence-I mean turbulence-free flight.
But watch out for the rough air.