I was asleep when the airliner hit turbulence. It must have dropped a hundred metres in half a second. The swooping up-rush launched my stomach into my chest and my head grazed the ceiling before my bum slammed back into the seat. I opened my eyes as an electronic warning bell started pinging above us. The ‘fasten seat belts’ light came on.
‘Bit late for that,’ I said to Amelia beside me.
‘I never unbuckle mine,’ she explained, showing me the snug clasp before returning to whatever she was doing on her phone. Reprogramming it, probably.
‘Of course you don’t,’ I said, just as the plane bounced hard again.
Mum craned round from the seat in front. ‘You OK, Jack? Amelia?’
‘Just fine . . . Why wouldn’t we be?’ we said over the top of one another.
The co-pilot’s voice oozed out of the speaker, full of reassurance: ‘Ladies and gentleman, we seem to have run into some unexpected weather. We’ll do our best to skirt it, but in the meantime, for your comfort and safety, we ask you to remain seated with your seat belt fastened.’