The important reason you need to keep your airplane seatbelt fastened until well after takeoff

A pilot explains the reasons why the seatbelt light does not switch off until after takeoff once the plane is well on it's way. Source: Getty Images.

The holidays are just around the corner and many people will be preparing for domestic and international flights in order to visit their loved ones in far away places.

Air travel is very exciting but things like turbulence can put a dampener on things. One pilot influencer has lifted the lid on the dreaded occurrence and also shed light on that seatbelt rule that leaves you fastened to your seat for longer than seems necessary.

Responding to a question on Tik Tok about whether pilots can avoid turbulence, Pilot Simon explained the reasons why the seatbelt light does not switch off until after takeoff once the plane is well and truly en route to its destination.

“Firstly, it [turbulence] isn’t dangerous if you’ve got your seatbelt fastened, so always have that loosely fastened,” he said.

“Two, it’s often easy to forecast it and we can avoid it, and we do that as much as possible.”

The pilot went onto to describe “a couple of instances” where avoiding turbulence can be tricky, which is why passengers need to keep their seatbelts fastened.

“So when we take off, we have to fly through clouds. They’ll be full of thermals, energy and wind, changing speed and direction,” Simon explained.

“When that goes over the wing and we fly through it, it causes a little bit of turbulence, which is why we leave the seatbelt signs on till at least 10,000 feet, or until we’re clear of most of the cloud.”

@flyman_simon Replying to @CEO FX university why don’t pilots avoid all turbulence? Your questions answered! #turbulence ♬ Love Of My Life – Metrow Ar

Simon further explained that some pilots seek turbulence to increase the plane’s speed even though this could make it bumpy for passengers.

“When we’re cruising, we want to get into a jet stream, which is a column of air up to 200 miles an hour,” he said.

“If we can get that behind us, then it increases the aircraft speed over the ground, reduces the fuel use and it gets you to your destination faster, which is when we put the seatbelt signs on.

“When we’re changing from slow-moving air to fast-moving air, we can get a bit of turbulence. But it’s all to our benefit.”

Viewers had mixed reactions to Simon’s video with some expressing their gratitiude for his insights and others lamenting that they would prefer a turbulent-free flight.

” I didn’t know this! It’s actually a good thing!” one person said.

“I’ve just found your page and this is making me feel so much better about flying! Going Sunday, actually looking forward to it!”

“This is so cool to know. Thank you for sharing! Definitely helped ease my anxiety about my next flight!” another commented.

“No kind of turbulence is to my benefit, I can’t agree.”

“I have to go to the Dr. & get “flight anxiety” pills b4 flying, helps some except when there is turbulence!”

So whether you are travelling solo, with your partner or extended family to your holiday destination this year, remember that while pilots can and do avoid turbulence, sometimes it’s a necessary evil to get the flight under way and to your destination as soon as possible.

And if flying is not your thing then a cruise can give you all the benefits of far flung travel without the stress. 

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