I always get a kick out of passengers who when getting off the airplane will look at me earnestly and say something like: Thank you for getting us here safely. As if they weren't on the plane, I would have flown a little less safely. Newsflash: I fly safely to keep my own pink backside from hitting the terra firma, not necessarily that of someone paying $29 for a weekend jaunt to see their boyfriend who's probably going to dump them after this next weekend.
This last trip we really had some rough rides over the Sierra Nevada prompting quite a few such comments. Usually, if we hit some rough air, we just change altitude or slow down or both and it soon passes. On our last leg, we hit continuous moderate turbulence that just wasn't going away. Turbulence is classified as light, moderate, or severe. Actually, there are only two useful categories which are light and moderate. When it turns severe, we won't fly.
When the average passenger experiences moderate, they usually think they've experienced severe because the ride is fairly rough. Walking is impossible. Drinks jump out of cups and land in laps. And this evening was a little unusual in that there was no escape from the bumps. We were travelling over the mountains while a weather front was blowing into Northern California. Airplanes at all altitudes were complaining about some bad rides. Luckily for us, we had only 14 passengers on board so the liklihood of someone yakking and causing a sympathy yak was minimal.
Finally the rides smoothed out as we descended below 10000ft into Vegas.