Get us in your inbox

Plane in the sky
Photograph: Shutterstock

These are the world’s most turbulent flight paths

A turbulence forecast website has deciphered data from 2023 to reveal the bumpiest routes on the planet

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

The unnerving tremors of turbulence when you’re trying to get a bit of shut-eye on a flight can be jarring, but are rarely that dangerous. 

However, there was news yesterday (May 21) that a LondonSingapore flight had to make an emergency landing in Bangkok when the Boeing 777 plane plummeted by 6,000 feet in just five minutes. Seven people suffered critical head injuries and a 73-year-old British man sadly died in the incident. 

So, what actually causes it? Well, there are a handful of factors, including atmospheric wind patterns, the wakes of other aeroplanes and ‘mechanical turbulence’ which is common when travelling over mountains. And as you might have guessed, there are parts of the world where it’s significantly more likely than others. 

Turbulence forecast website Turbli used ‘eddy dissipation rates’ to analyse over 150,000 long and short-haul flight records from 2023. The EDR measures turbulence intensity at a given spot, ranging from 0-100, and the most turbulent flight path in the world is between Santiago, Chile and Santa Cruz, Bolivia, which had an average EDR of 17.5. 

Ranking at number five and also as the most turbulent in Europe is the route between Milan and Geneva (16.3 EDR), closely followed by Milan to Zurich – clearly, the Alps are a pretty turbulent place to be. 

These are the 10 most turbulent flight paths in the world 

Santiago (SCL) - Santa Cruz (VVI)

Almaty (ALA) - Bishkek (FRU)

Lanzhou (LHW) - Chengdu (CTU)

Centrair (NGO) - Sendai (SDJ)

Milan (MXP) - Geneva (GVA)

Lanzhou (LHW) - Xianyang (XIY)

Osaka (KIX) - Sendai (SDJ)

Xianyang (XIY) - Chengdu (CTU)

Xianyang (XIY) - Chongqing (CKG)

Milan (MXP) - Zurich (ZRH)

And these are the 10 most turbulent flight paths in Europe

Milan (MXP) - Geneva (GVA)

Milan (MXP) - Zurich (ZRH)

Geneva (GVA) - Zurich (ZRH)

Marseille (MRS) - Zurich (ZRH)

Zgornji Brnik (LJU) - Zurich (ZRH)

Nice (NCE) - Basel (BSL)

Nice (NCE) - Zurich (ZRH)

Yerevan (EVN) - Tbilisi (TBS)

Basel (BSL) - Venezia (VCE)

Frankfurt am Main (FRA) - Caselle Torinese (TRN)

More on air travel at Time Out 

At Time Out, we bring you all the latest news on air travel, from the new passport-free boarding process being trialled in Europe to the world’s best and the world’s busiest airports – plus all the info on strikes in Europe that you need to know about.  

Did you see that Japan’s long-awaited Nintendo Museum is finally opening this year?

Plus: These are the best budget European city breaks for 2024

Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out Travel newsletter for all the latest travel news.

You may also like
You may also like