AA Good at Avoiding Turbulence?

bologna

New member
I am scheduled to fly on American in the near future and my question is this: is AA very good at avoiding turbulence. (I ask this because I know Northwest is renowned for its turbulence aviodance, and I am wondering if AA is good too.)

Thanks!
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
I really haven't tracked AA very much, but their name does not come up when names of airlines that go out of the way to avoid turbulence. Visitors report that Northwest, United, Delta, Southwest, and jetBlue do a decent job, although this isn't very scientific.

Fortunately, their MD-80 series of aircraft ride well in turbulence due to an older wing which isn't quite as efficient as newer wings.

I wish I had more information for you.
 

jlfc

New member
I am scheduled to fly on American in the near future and my question is this: is AA very good at avoiding turbulence. (I ask this because I know Northwest is renowned for its turbulence aviodance, and I am wondering if AA is good too.)

Thanks!
I fly constantly AA. Have around 4 millon miles. Platinum for life and have had very few instances of severe turbulence.So they must have at least a decent track record with me.
 

bologna

New member
Well, as it turns out, they did not do what I would call an excellent job. I just got back after flying from San Juan to Chicago. We had the normal take-off turbulence in our climb out of San Juan. When we were almost at our cruising altitude, the pilot informed us that it looked like a smooth 4 hour 40 minute flight, turned off the seat belt sign, and told us that he would talk to us again about 20 minutes before landing. But, about 40 minutes in, it got a bit choppy and the seat belt sign was turned back on, with no explaination. The seat belt sign was kept on for about the next two and a half hours with the chop continuing. It was never anything worse than light, but it was just persistant. And never during this did the pilot ever talk on the intercom, or as far as I could tell change to a smoother altitude. The turbulence stopped about when we were over Kentucky, and the seat belt sign was turned off. As promised, the pilot came on the intercom about 20 minutes before landing and said that we were to land in 20 mintues. Suprisingly, we made up time on the flight and arrived on time after having been delayed for about 30 minutes leaving San Juan due to delay of the inbound equipement. My question is this: did the pilot continue for the sake of making up time, or would that not be something that they would do? However, to AA's credit, my connecting flight out of Chicago on a CR7 was exceedingly smooth.
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
To be fair, it was possible that there were no clearer altitudes, and it was just light, but I agree, some communication would have been nice. Did you look at your flight on Flightaware and see/track your flight? It would shed some light on the story, and I'd like to take a look too.

http://flightaware.com

It was never anything worse than light, but it was just persistant.
 

bologna

New member
I checked on FlightAware, but they had not tracked it. I was suprised at how low our cruising altitude was: the pilot said that we'd be cruising at 34,000 unil we burned off some fuel, and then we'd move up to 36,000 feet. But overall, it was not a bad flight. Even though the seat belt sign was on, people were still walking around the cabin and the cabin crew didn't seem to mind. My only gripe was really the lack of communication; even a simple, "It won't get any rougher" would have made it considerably more pleasant.
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
What aircraft? 757-200?

You were probably heavy with cargo or fuel, which is maybe why you weren't higher.
 

bologna

New member
Yep- it was a 757-200. It was a full flight, so I guess that probably meant a lot of baggage and fuel. Thanks!
 

NervyFlyer

New member
About AA

About AA

I am a frequent flyer on AA, but I could switch to Northwest if it is worth it. WIll I notice a difference, or does it have more to do with the weather that day?

Thanks for this site. I can't believe I never found it before. MY experience is so similar to other people here, it is very reassuring.
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
Weather matters the most by far, but decisions and policies made by the airline matter too.

Every time I've tracked NW vs the others, they do the most, in either flying low, flying around, or something else.

Who is to say though, that they'd continue in the future? I'll continue to monitor, but so far, in the year or so I've been watching, they have done a great job. I've found they are also very communicative during the flight.

So, should you switch or not? I think DTW is probably a great hub to deal with vs ORD (new airport, better runway system, weather, etc), but you might have to do some flights with stops. I think myself, if I could not choose Northwest, to choose United or Delta. United has channel 9, which is nice. Some report that Delta does a good job. No visitor has had anything nice to say about American.

I am a frequent flyer on AA, but I could switch to Northwest if it is worth it. WIll I notice a difference, or does it have more to do with the weather that day?

Thanks for this site. I can't believe I never found it before. MY experience is so similar to other people here, it is very reassuring.
 

bologna

New member
Well, I personally would not avoid American. Even though the flight was slightly bumpy, it overall was not too bad. I'd go as far to say that the worst factor of the flight was being bored. Although, I do agree, ORD is a mess in general.
 

bologna

New member
And, my other 4 flight segments on AA that trip were quite pleasant. One was from MIA to SJU, on which there was absolutely no turbulence to speak of. I also flew from SJU to EIS and back, which, as would be expected on a small little ATR, there was a tiny bit of turbulence on the 30 minute flights, but again nothing too bad. And finally, the flight from ORD to BNA might just have been one of the smoothest flights I've ever had in my life.
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
It depends on weather. You just increase your likelihood of a smoother flight with certain airlines. It's hard to have a rough flight if there just isn't rough air. American flew right through that advisory zone. That being said, some days it doesn't matter who you fly, it's going to be rough.

On the MIA-SJU route, the jet stream often does not get that low.
 

NervyFlyer

New member
so...

so...

for someone like me who flies LA to NYC ten times or more a year, always direct, would you recommend switching to Northwest or another airline from AA? It's all the same to me, just curious if the airlines fly different routes even on a direct flight.
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
You'd have to stop in DTW or MSP if you flew NWA. I compared direct flights from DTW, MDW, ORD to LAS for my blog post above. There's no question that you get a lot of chop on the western half of the country. It might be smoother sometimes with NWA, but compare that against having to connect. Another take off and descent to deal with. Longer transit time because of the stop. Stops are a bummer. I'm not sure I could recommend an airline that requires a stop. Perhaps Delta or United would be better?

for someone like me who flies LA to NYC ten times or more a year, always direct, would you recommend switching to Northwest or another airline from AA? It's all the same to me, just curious if the airlines fly different routes even on a direct flight.
 

xetere

Super Lifetime Elite
Funny I found that American pilots are *more* talkative re: turbulence than otherrs. I flew from JFK to SJU a couple of years ago and it was choppy the entire way. not major (and I had many cervezas before I went on the plane :) but still seat belt seat was on and no meal service. Pilots were very communicative. At one point we were at only 29,000 ft and pilots said that pilots were reporting chop at every flight level above about 20,000 feet and this was the lowest ATC was going to allow us to go, but as soon as he can get a smoother flight, he will.
 
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