Account  |  Log In

6.20.20 – Turbulence Injuries

APFA Hotline

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Turbulence Injuries

One of the most significant challenges experienced during the summer season is inclement weather, which often leads to turbulence.

Whenever encountering turbulence, always remain seated and secure yourself as quickly as possible. If you are in the aisle performing a service, brace the cart by wedging it between aisle seats, set the brakes, remove hot liquids from the top of the cart, and remain aware of the situation.

Stay seated until the Captain tells you it is safe to get up. If an emergency should arise, use your best judgment, and communicate with the flight deck. The most important thing is always to keep yourself safe.

Important Reminders:

  • During the crew briefing, if you feel you have not received information concerning the possibility of turbulence during the flight, ask for additional information.
  • If the flight deck crew advises you to take or remain in your jumpseat, do so – as quickly as possible, and remain seated until further advised. The flight deck crew will make an initial PA informing passengers of the turbulence—follow-up with subsequent announcements if necessary.
  • If you experience moderate or severe turbulence, report via CERS within 24 hours of the event. If you are on an international sequence, report the incident within 24 hours of your return.


The Turbulence Task Force (TTF) and TAPs System

The Turbulence Task Force (TTF) was created by and is comprised of representatives from Flight, Flight Service, Flight Safety, Dispatch and Meteorology, APFA, APA, and other workgroups. These workgroups collaborate to analyze and develop solutions to manage turbulence more effectively. This collaboration has led to various enhancements to keep our passengers and crew safe when traveling.

400+ aircraft in the American fleet are equipped with Turbulence Auto-PIREPs (TAPS), an automated system that provides more detailed and accurate data of turbulence events. This system allows the TTF to identify trends better, analyze ways to avoid high turbulence areas, and help develop new procedures to prepare flight crews and passengers when turbulence is likely.

The TTF and APFA Safety and Security’s number one priority is to reduce the number of Flight Attendant injuries. While data suggests passenger injuries are declining, Flight Attendant injuries continue to rise.

Instructing passengers to keep their seatbelts fastened while seated avoids injuries during unexpected turbulence. The TAPs system provides pilots and Flight Attendants with information and warnings when turbulence may be ahead, especially during periods when Flight Attendants are out of their jumpseats.

Situational awareness is crucial when it comes to turbulence safety.

  • More than 70% of significant turbulence events occur below 20,000 feet during ascent and descent.
  • More than 50% occur in clouds and convective (warm air rising) weather.
  • More Flight Attendants sustain injuries during “light” or “moderate” turbulence than “severe” turbulence.


Injured in Turbulence – What Next?
If you sustain an injury due to turbulence, notify the Captain immediately and request the turbulence and injury event be documented. If medical treatment is necessary, it is imperative to let the Captain know as soon as possible.

A triage nurse from Sedgwick will answer your call. You are NOT required to follow the nurse’s recommendations and are free to seek immediate medical treatment. Advise the nurse if you intend to seek urgent medical care. Not all injuries require immediate medical attention. In the event of a medical emergency, do not wait to speak with a nurse- seek immediate medical attention, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. It would be best if you were removed from duty by a doctor to become eligible for workers’ compensation pay benefits once the claim is accepted.

All Flight Attendants should file a CERS Report. 
The New CERS Report link may be found on your (EFB) tablet, or the Flight Service website by clicking on Safety and Security, or you may connect from your mobile device.

If you become injured as a result of turbulence, you may be eligible for an Injury on Duty (IOD)

IODs may be filed 24/7 by calling: 844-777-8463

IOD Instructions and Information

For more information about turbulence safety, please refer to the Inflight Manual – Safety and Security – General Safety or contact the IOD Department at

In Solidarity,

Bellia Peckson
APFA National IOD Chair

Thomas Houdek
APFA National Safety & Security Chair

1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

Phone: (817) 540-0108
Fax: (817) 540-2077


M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Phone Reps
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Virtual Retirement Town Hall

July 19 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

2Q22 EC Meeting

July 28 @ 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

2022 Fall BOD Meeting

October 25 - October 27