One fact of that crash, that two groups of bodies were found over 50 miles apart, indicates that a mid-air breakup of the airliner occurred.
Some experts also think the events happened very quickly as well:
It is believed that the erratic speed readings may have been caused by malfunctioning speed sensors – or pitot tubes – but it still remains unclear how this problem alone could have destroyed, or brought down, a modern aircraft so rapidly. No Mayday call or emergency radio message was sent by the pilot and co-pilot, suggesting that the aircraft fell apart or crashed while they were still going through their first, emergency response procedures.(The Independent, emphasis added). Their experience in the storm was over so fast they did not have time to send a mayday call.
The bodies recovered so far were intact, so it is possible that the plane broke up into at least two passenger-containing sections before the pilots could respond.
If storms are becoming so violent that they can rip an aircraft apart, flight strategy needs to change to avoid those types of storms which were not avoided in the past.
Airline company policy has been to save fuel by going in a straight line through many storms, and more so as the price of fuel sky-rocketed in recent times.