Flying Through a Typhoon

March 7, 2014

in Weather Stories

I fly fairly often and don’t mind turbulence, normally. However, on that day in 2009 I flew back from Taipei to Cork via Hong Kong and Amsterdam and I did mind it… a lot.

We left TPE on time on Cathay Pacific to HKG, and when we started to descend into HKG the worst turbulence that I ever experienced started. A typhoon was about to pass by Hong Kong that day and our plane was one of the last ones allowed to land at HKG.

The flight attendant just served some food a few minutes before and all the Taiwanese and Chinese passengers were enjoying their “free” meal, even though it was really bad food. Anyways the plane rocked violently and I never held onto the seat like this before; I was sure we were gonna die.

The IFE showed the current altitude… 600ft, 500ft, 400ft. Outside it was all grey; nothing to see. The Chinese guy next to me kept eating. I was sweating… 300ft, 200ft, 100ft. Still nothing outside the window, and finally touchdown. Man, I was happy to be on the ground and that was the first time I seriously considered not flying anymore.

My connection about an hour later was fine because we flew towards the west; the typhoon was coming from the east.

Since then I always check the weather from TPE, and I always postpone my flights if there is a chance of a typhoon because those Asian carriers fly till the end.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Trixi March 11, 2014 at 3:58 pm

They served you food right before you landed? That's strange.


TMM April 5, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Yikes, 100ft AGL and no "breakout". From my military aircrew days I remember decision height was 200ft AGL.


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