Happy New Year, Ladies and Gentlemen. This is your flight crew speaking again. We hope you enjoyed the holidays.

You undoubtedly noticed the turbulence in December. While we were not surprised by it, we understand that it was not a pleasant experience for you.

Some pretty amazing things happened last year, and in particular last month. The stock market (specifically the Dow Jones Industrial Average) set a record for the biggest daily increase measured by points when it rose 1,086 on December 26th. Now, that was a rather small gain (+5%) in percentage terms, and it does not rank in the “Top 20” all-time percentage gains. But it raised a lot of eyebrows and was a welcome relief after a painful beginning to the fourth quarter. Way back in February, the Dow dropped by over 1,000 points in a single day … twice actually (1,175 on February 5th and 1,032 on February 8th). But you probably do not even remember that, do you? Those daily point drops were also comparatively smaller in percent terms and did not make the all-time “Top 20” for daily losses.

Unfortunately, Santa did not show up for investors last month and the Dow closed down 9.7% for the month. The stock market suffered its worst December since 1931 and, despite closing up on New Year’s Eve day, closed in negative territory for the year with a loss of 5.6%.

Several of you have pressed your “call buttons” recently, and we thought we should take a moment to respond generally, as we’ve identified some common themes. Some of you have asked about changing our flight course. That’s certainly a reasonable suggestion. However, the reality is that we are taking the most reliable route we know to get you to your destination safely and on time. We are constantly looking for better routes and, rest assured, if we could identify a route that we knew for certain would be less bumpy, we would take it.

A few of you have asked about getting off the aircraft. At first, we thought these folks were joking. Then we realized you were serious. Well, we do not carry parachutes on board and it would not be wise to bail out, even if we did. The conditions outside are far less safe than they are in the cabin. We understand the ride has recently been a bit rough. Candidly, periodic turbulence is just an inherent part of flying. You could consider trying a different form of transportation. But it would have its own set of unpleasant attributes.

Others have asked when the turbulence will stop, and for how long. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you when conditions will improve, nor if they will temporarily worsen.

What we do know is that the safest thing to do is to remain seated with your seat belt properly fastened, with the knowledge that this period of turbulence will eventually be behind us, and you will enjoy clear skies and pleasant travel again.

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