Woman's Jelly Trick That 'Cured' Her Fear of Flying Viewed 15 Million Times

A TikTok user has wowed the internet after sharing a handy hack that she says proves you don't need to be afraid of turbulence on your next flight.

Anna Paul, from Australia, on Tuesday shared a video that has since amassed more than 15 million views that uses an unusual tool to explain air travel.

"This tip is how to not be scared of flying from a real pilot, OK?" explains Paul in the video.

Paul told Newsweek: "I read about the flying tip once when I was super scared of flying and I did a lot of research online and read of a girl who said her husband is a pilot and he gave the jelly advice."

In the video, Paul uses a pot of jelly to represent the air and places a small piece of napkin inside. As the paper sits in the center of the jelly pot, she explains that pressure from the top, bottom, and each side keeps it in place—just like a plane in the air.

She continues to tap the jelly to represent turbulence: "See, it's not going up or down," says Paul: "It's stuck in there. Because there's pressure coming from the top, bottom, and the sides."

"It's not gonna automatically fall just because it's shaking," she says: "You do not have to be scared."

Turbulence is caused by a sudden and sometimes violent shift in airflow. Irregular motions in the atmosphere create air currents that can cause an unpleasant jolt during a flight that many passengers will be familiar with.

With more than 3 million likes and over 32,000 comments, the video has impressed and educated the internet.

TikTok jelly hack for fear of flying
Pictures from the video by Anna Paul that has been viewed more than 15 million times. In the video, Paul explains why you shouldn't be afraid of turbulence on your next airplane flight. anna..paull/TikTok

"Ok this helps so much," wrote one commenter. While another said: "This was so helpful," and one commenter even wrote: "I think my fear of flying was just cured."

But how accurate is the jelly example?

What Paul is actually explaining in simple terms is the principle of parcels of air, which all aeronautical engineers and pilots learn about in theoretical training.

Guy Gratton, Ph.D, test Pilot and Associate Professor of Aviation and the Environment at Cranfield University, England told Newsweek: "There's a significant element of truth in this, but it's partial. Yes, so long as the airplane is not near the ground, this is accurate that turbulence can only basically move the airplane around within the parcel of air—or jelly—sometimes very unpleasant and disconcerting, but not actually dangerous."

So why is it only partially true?

"Firstly it is possible for turbulence to break an airplane through the stresses it puts on it," explained Gratton: "This is however incredibly unlikely because pilots know when turbulent conditions are likely and will slow the airplane to a speed where structural damage can't occur."

"The other way it's untrue is close to the ground," he continued: "There are a couple of forms of turbulence known as 'windshear' and 'downburst,' either of which can cause an airplane to descend uncontrollably towards the ground if it's caught out, most likely during the final approach to land."

Thankfully, there are plenty of sophisticated forecasting and radar systems in place to ensure this doesn't happen—and as a result, it very rarely does.

"Ideally pilots will simply avoid these conditions through going around or holding off until conditions change," said Gratton.

In 2012, Bhoja Air Flight 213 crashed in its final approach to land due to turbulence at low level, causing heavy loss of life. But these cases are extremely rare: "Arguably a lot of that was because the pilots failed to follow their training and procedures," explained Gratton.

"Ultimately, the protection of aircraft and their occupants from turbulence comes primarily from the training and professionalism of the pilots, of the engineers who designed and certified the aircraft, and from the use of technology," said Gratton: "The 'jelly', to me, parcel of air, principle described in this video does hold true, so long as the airplane is being flown at an appropriate speed for the conditions, and en-route: so to that extent, it's a good description."

Paul says she is thrilled that so many people have seen her video: "The more people it helps, the better," she said: "Especially children!"