Tuesday 21 May 2024

More turbulence than normal for cats in aircraft cabins

Climate change is leading to increased turbulence on flights. A tragic incident occurred on a Singapore Airlines Boeing flight where one person lost their life and over 30 passengers were injured due to severe turbulence. The plane dramatically dropped 6,000 feet and had to make an emergency landing on Tuesday (May 21), as reported by the New York Post.

The gentleman who died of a suspected heart attack was Geoffrey Kitchen, 73. He was a retired insurance worker and a musical director living near Bristol. Six other passengers were in a critical condition last night in hospital.

He was with his wife Linda. He was on a holiday of a lifetime travelling to Singapore, the first leg of their trip to Indonesia and Australia.

A further 47 passengers were taken to hospital. Witnesses said that just seconds after the seatbelt sign was turned on the aircraft plummeted thousands of feet. Passengers were thrown into the air with their belongings. The pilots declared a medical emergency and diverted to Thailand. One passenger said that wherever you looked there was another injury.

Cat in aircraft cabin. Note: the carrier is the wrong type. Should be a soft one. And it is too large! 😻😹 AI created it.

Many airlines do allow cats to travel in the cabin, provided they meet certain requirements. Here are some airlines that warmly welcome cats on board. For example, American Airlines: Allows cats in the cabin, but check their specific policies.

What are the requirements for flying with a cat? 

When flying with your feline friend, here are some general requirements:
  1. Carrier: Use an airline-approved cat carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Soft-sided carriers are often preferred.
  2. Health Certificate: Obtain a recent health certificate from your veterinarian, confirming your cat’s good health.
  3. Vaccinations: Ensure your cat is up-to-date on vaccinations.
  4. Reservations: Book your cat’s spot in advance, as airlines limit the number of pets per flight.
  5. Age: Most airlines require cats to be at least 8 weeks old.
  6. Weight Limit: Check the weight limit for in-cabin travel (usually around 9 kg, including the carrier).
  7. Documentation: Carry necessary paperwork, including vaccination records and microchip details.

Remember to check specific airline policies, as they may vary. Safe travels for you and your furry companion!

And remember that there is more chance of encountering turbulence when flying nowadays thanks to global warming. The effect on the domestic cat in their carrier under the seat needs to be factored in.

While it’s rare, cats can occasionally escape carriers inside the cabin of an aircraft. To prevent this, follow these tips:

  1. Secure Carrier: Ensure the carrier is securely closed and zipped.
  2. Comfort: Make the carrier comfortable to reduce stress.
  3. Stay Calm: If your cat gets out, stay calm and gently coax them back in.
  4. Alert Crew: Inform the flight attendants immediately if your cat escapes.

Remember, most cats remain calm during flights, but it’s essential to be prepared.

Increased turbulence

Clear air turbulence (CAT) is caused by vertical wind shear, which are sharp variations in wind speed or direction with altitude. This type of turbulence is invisible, lacking any visual indicators such as clouds, and often arises when a large moving air mass encounters another at a different speed, such as when jet streams meet slower-moving air. 

Jet streams are rapid air currents that travel from west to east high above certain regions, like from the US to Europe. The jet stream's strong winds are driven by the temperature disparity between the Earth's polar areas and the equator. Many aircraft take advantage of the jet stream when flying across the Atlantic, allowing them to reach Europe more quickly and with less fuel.

Climate change doesn't cause uniform warming across the globe, and this uneven warming significantly influences CAT. Near the poles, warming is more intense at the surface, while at lower latitudes, it's stronger at higher altitudes. This is because there's more water vapor in the atmosphere over the equator. Water vapor, a greenhouse gas, leads to further warming, enabling the air to retain even more water, thus continuing the warming cycle. Consequently, there's a greater temperature disparity across the jet stream, resulting in faster wind speeds, increased shear at the boundaries, and heightened turbulence.-------------

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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