Somewhat Disturbing

I had a somewhat disturbing experience on my flight from Bangkok to Singapore recently.

On SQ flight 632 from Bangkok to Tokyo on 30 May, the plane was hit by some strong turbulence not too long into the flight.

I fly a lot(!), so a bit of turbulence doesn't bother me, but this was stronger than usual, and it hit suddenly. There was no gradual build-up. It was more of a "Baam!", like the plane being slapped by an angry giant, followed by lots of rockin' and rollin'.

Then, it stopped as suddenly as it had started.

Of course, the "fasten your seat belts" sign came on, followed by the usual announcement about suspending cabin services. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

The disturbing part came after the turbulence past. One of the pilots got on the intercom and apologised for the turbulence, saying that it had been due to the wake from a passing aircraft. it was late at night, and I was sleepy and groggy, but this got my attention. Wake?! Passing aircraft?! Say what?!

There was no alarm in his voice. He said it in a nonchalant, matter-of-fact manner, almost as if he had just announced the commencement of inflight sales.

But...what made it even worse was the Japanese announcement that followed. The Japanese version of the announcement was just the usual..."We're passing through an area of turbulence and the captain anticipates possible further turbulence so please keep your seat belts fastened."

No hint of proximate planes and their ensuing wakes.

So...hang on a second. Which version was it?

I probably should've asked and probably should've pushed the point, but I didn't...figuring that if we had just had a near miss, there was nothing that could be done about it at that point, and if it was just normal turbulence, then hopefully the guy who just hinted at a close-quarters fly-by knew what he was doing and wasn't just screwing with us.

Oddly enough, everyone else seemed oblivious to the announcements, whether in English or in Japanese. It's as close as I've ever come to feeling like I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Hope I never hear that type of announcement again.