This Is Why Your Pilot Might Turn the Plane Around During Landings

There's no need to panic.

landing planewhitelook/ShutterstockIf your flight is finally near the airport when the plane starts circling around instead of landing, your gut reaction might be panic. Is there some dangerous situation keeping you away from the airport? Is your pilot killing time just to annoy you?

Time to calm your fears, because doing a roundabout before landing is totally normal. (Though these tips for conquering a fear of flying could still come in handy.)

It probably comes as no surprise that flying—and landing—is tricky business. That means knowing how the weather is, what’s happening on the runway, and where other planes are, according to Travel + Leisure. If the conditions aren’t ideal, the pilot will need to “abort” the landing. And even though you are probably picturing a panicked pilot screaming “abort, abort,” it’s actually nothing to freak out about.

No, you won’t need to jump out of the plane with a parachute. Your pilot just needs to circle around after the aborted landing before trying again. “Although it can be surprising for a passenger to hear the engines change, it’s actually a display of safety,” Phil Derner, founder of NYCAviation.com, tells Travel + Leisure. “It happens every day at every airport.” That means it can even happen at the biggest airport and the best airport in the world.

So if you’re at the worst airport in America, which happens to be near two other major airports, there’s a decent chance other planes will keep your pilot from landing as soon as you’re in the area.

Still freaking out? These comforting facts about flying will keep you calm during your next flight.

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.