Turbulent Turboprop Plane Ride to Kauai

The side of a twin turboprop plane

It seems I haven’t quite gotten over my fear of flying in a turboprop plane. We took Island Air to and from Kauai and both times, got a little freaked out by the turbulence.

Their fleet of planes are typically pretty small, with (I’m guessing) about a 50-passenger capacity and very limited space. Once inside, you can clearly see the turbine engines on either side of the aircraft. They fire up at the captain’s command, sending a loud roar through the small plane. That roar never really fades away; in fact, you can hear and feel the buzzing engines during pretty much the entire flight. That doesn’t really bother me, though; it’s just the turbulence that gets to me. Because the plane is so small, every little bump feels 100-times worse than it really is!

The weather on our way to Kauai actually wasn’t that bad. Sunny, with very light trade winds; however, even that resulted in some turbulence on the ascent. Our pilot let us know beforehand, so we were prepared (but also a little weary). Other than the bumpy take-off, the 35-minute flight had been very pleasant overall. The trip back to Oahu, however, wasn’t nearly as nice to us. Lets just say, I will never fly in a turboprop plane again. We happened to takeoff in a nasty storm that hit just that evening. Luckily, there was no thunder nor lighting but lots of rain and WIND! I seriously felt like I was on a roller coaster ride, except this one was by no means fun. We went up and down, up and down; each time we flew through a patch of clouds, I grabbed on to the arm rests in order to brace myself for the next “bump.” Bump is definitely an understatement to describe my experience, lol.

Don’t get me wrong. The crew of Island Air flight attendants did a great job in keeping everyone calm. I have no idea how they manage to keep a soothing voice over the PA system, when the plane is nearly falling out of the sky. I just know that I will pay the extra $50 or so to fly in a bigger aircraft (Hawaiian Air, probably) – just so I never have to fear for my life again while flying!

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