Less Turbulent Season?

747Fan

Lifetime Elite
Is there a less turbulent season? Do you generally see less turbulence in March, April, May?

I realize every flight encounters some form of turbulence. But if you hate turbulence as much as we do on this site, what is the best month to plan a trip in the US if you want avoid mod turbulence? When does the jetstream tend to lift North?
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
It is my belief that winter is the roughest time of the year, due to jet stream activity. The jet stream is usually strong and it's just lower, so it's in the way of more flights. Summer in my experience, is generally pretty smooth because the jet stream is so far up north. The problem of course, is storms, which usually are usually pretty avoidable, but when you get near, that's when you might hit some nasty turbulence.

Probably the optimal time is early fall or early spring, in between the summer extremes of storms, and the winter extremes of jet stream.

We are probably getting close to a good time of year to fly, as winter will start winding down soon.

I've always had good luck with February and November flights, I've done DTW-MCO a few times those months and no problem.
 

747Fan

Lifetime Elite
I've always had good luck with February and November flights, I've done DTW-MCO a few times those months and no problem.
Good to know. I'm flying BOS-MCO on March 1st. You'll be getting my request for a forecast :D
 

Popinigis

Lifetime Elite
Hey, same question, but considering climate changes. Is it still all right to fly in the US around March/April?
 

tb_neg

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, I think it's fine. Actually it's almost always fine, it's just certain days, so it's very much the luck of the draw. I've never said to myself, well, not flying that month because it might be rough.
 

hokiemas

Lifetime Elite
I've had turbulent flights and perfectly smooth flights (perfectly used very loosely there) throughout the year. My worst flight ever was in April. I've also had wonderful flights in April. I had another bad flight in October of last year and was posting the flightaware info here on the forums as I flew through some nasty weather. However another flight in October was beautiful. It all depends on the weather and upper level winds I suppose. I just trust that the pilot wants to land safely as much as I do and try to forget about the bumps. Living in Mexico, the bumps in the road here on a bus or in a car are far worse than what I've ever felt on a plane anyway.
 

pinworm

Lifetime Elite
It depends on where in the world you are, what season, and what time of day. Some areas are always bumpy, like the equatorial convergence zone where the easterly norther hemisphere weather meets the westerly southern hemisphere weather.

In North America, the jet stream runs further south into Texas and at a lower altitude during February. So a flight from say Houston to Los Angeles will stand a greater chance of being bumpy....but of course the actual location of the jetstream varies day to day and in some winters it does not get as far south as in other winters. Still, if you are flying Chicago to Denver, you will usually miss the jetstream completely in February and have higher odds of a smooth flight...while in Canada in summer the jetstream creeps into central Manitoba. So it really depends on season and location.

And on smaller scales this applies too. I always avoid going into and coming out of PHX between 12pm and 8pm from June through early August due to the "monsoon" build up of storms in the area..even without a storm the air is unstable as the heat of the day causes strong thermals..however, if I have to be in PHX or go through it I try for morning flights. The air over the desert is very very stable first thing in the morning after the cool of the night.
 
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