From one of the opening scenes of "The Hunt for the Red October" (emphasis mine):

I can never sleep on a plane. Turbulence.


Turbulence... Solar radiation heats the Earth's crust, warm air rises, cold airs descends. Turbulence. I don't like that.

How can a passenger explain what turbulence is to a flight attendant? Shouldn't this be exactly opposite? For me its like explaining to a soldier on a war mission how a hand grenade works and that you have to pull a trigger and throw grenade away. What am I missing in here?

  • 1
    Actually on a grenade you pull a pin, not a trigger! ☺
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 17:47
  • 1
    Without a clip to watch, it's tough to decide from the script alone whether she doesn't understand, or doesn't quite hear what he said. Nuance is everything in a line like that. It could even be an attempt at humour - explaining to someone who flies every day the meaning of the word. Maybe the passenger didn't understand, or maybe [s]he was joking… so we already have four interpretations from just one exchange.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


I just re-watched the scene and it's not clear why the flight attendant said "Pardon".

Her expression does not look particularly quizzical such as her not understanding what turbulence...it's more like "why is turbulence relevant to the issue of sleep".

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Certainly a flight attendant would not need an explanation of what turbulence is so the scene is actually one of exposition.

The point of the scene is to show that Ryan is, if not afraid of flying, then not the greatest fan. We find out the reason later.

Greer told me about him. Three weeks after he was commissioned, he was in a chopper on a rescue mission in the Med. They went down. Bad. Pilot and crew killed instantly. That kid spent eight months in traction with a broken back, and two years learning to walk again.

  • 2
    The interaction also suggests that Ryan is, at heart, a little bit of a condescending know-it-all. A normal human would probably have said something like, "turbulence makes it hard for me to sleep."
    – Tom
    Commented Nov 28, 2021 at 21:31

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