Joe Justice, a passenger on the flight, provided photos and video of the aftermath on Twitter, calling the turbulence "insane".
Reno-Tahoe spokesman Brian Kulpin said: 'There were people who were shaken up, understandably'.
Three injured passengers were taken to a hospital when the plane arrived in Seattle after waiting for 6 hours in Reno.
A spokeswoman for the airline said the Compass Airlines flight, operating as Delta, landed safely.
Tribune-affiliate KCPQ reports a flight out of John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., was diverted to Reno after the crew reported turbulence around 34,000 feet.
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Passenger Dave Macias said: I've been on a lot of flights over the previous year and a half and this was by far the wildest flight I've ever been on.
There were 59 passengers and four crew on board the flight.
Passengers described the encounter with turbulence this way, "So scary I mean, we're lucky that the pilot got us out of it".
Now a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at WVU Dr. Gall says there are little questions what the Delta flight hit "was severe turbulence".
A significant winter storm is now hitting the area with "strong, potentially damaging winds" and is expected to last until Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Reno.
Following the safe landing in Reno, where customers were able to exit as usual through the main cabin door, Delta said they were working on caring for and supporting their passengers.