One of the most difficult things for me as a new flight attendant was that I would feel airsick while working. Honestly, I was shocked to find myself being queasy because I had flown many times before without ever having motion sickness. The senior flight attendants assured me that this was normal and common for new flight attendants and that my body would eventually adjust. They were right, but I assure you that during my first few months as a flight attendant I learned a lot about how to avoid getting airsick!

a group of three young women. They are smiling. Their hair is pulled up into buns on their head and they are dressed in navy blue flight attendant jackets with scarves on their necks.

First of All, What Causes Airsicknesses

Basically motion sickness (called airsickness when you are on a plane) is a problem caused by conflicting signals between your brain, your inner ear, and your senses. Your body and your inner ear are detecting movement that your eyes aren’t registering. These mixed signals confuse your brain and can cause you to feel sick.

What Are the Symptoms of Airsickness?

If you don’t know the symptoms of airsickness consider yourself lucky! Nausea, cold sweats, dizziness, turning pale, fatigue…at its very worse airsickness can cause you to throw up.

By the way…if you start to feel nauseated do your flight attendant a favor and make sure you have your airsick bag ready to go. It should be in the seat pocket in front of you! If not, feel free to ask for one! Please.

Best Ways to Avoid Getting Airsick

So, now that you know what airsickness is and how it makes you feel…here are some of my best tips for how to try NOT to get motion sick when flying as well as how to help yourself feel better if despite your best efforts you DO start to feel airsick.

Choose your seat carefully

If you are prone to motion sickness this is a very important tip. I was so surprised as a new flight attendant to discover just how much smoother the ride is near the front of the plane than it is in the back. I have been on flights where the attendants in the back of the plane could barely complete the service due to turbulence while those in the front were blissfully unaware.

Of course, not all of us can enjoy flying WAY in the front of the plane in first class, but even if you are flying coach try to get a seat over or in front of the wing.

It really makes a difference in the amount of movement you will feel!

Don’t Eat Too Much or Too Little Before Your Flight

Many people like to take an early morning flight not only because they are usually cheaper, but also because they allow you to get to your destination earlier. However, I have seen many passengers start to feel sick on these flights because they have gotten up before dawn and rushed around to get to the airport in time without eating breakfast.

It is a BAD idea to fly on an empty stomach. I speak from experience here!!!

Try to have something light before you get on the plane even if it is just a bagel or a piece of toast. You can even pack a snack the night before to bring with you on your early morning flight.

On the other side of the spectrum are the red eye or late night flights when people may have had too much to eat before boarding. This can cause you to feel sick if you encounter any turbulence.

Basically, just eat a light meal before you fly and don’t eat anything that has potential to upset your stomach.

Don’t Drink Alcohol and Do Stay Hydrated

If you tend to get airsick then avoid drinking alcohol before or during air travel. Drinking alcohol tends to make airsickness worse. In part because it can increase dizziness and also because it can cause dehydration which ALSO can make your airsickness worse.

So stay hydrated and don’t drink alcohol if you tend to get sick while flying.

Dress in Layers So That You Can Regulate Your Body Temperature

a man on an airplane turning on the air vent. A tip for how to avoid airsickness is to use the air vent

Getting too warm on a flight might not cause airsickness, but it can definitely exacerbate it! Dress in layers so that you can remove some to keep yourself from getting too warm on a flight.

Use Your Fresh Air Vent

Having some fresh air blowing on you can help to prevent you from becoming airsick so be sure and use your air vent! As an added bonus Business Insider says that using the air vent is a healthy choice on a plane.

Avoid Reading a Book or Looking at Screens

When you read or look at screens your visual field stays still, however your body and inner ear are aware of the motion of the plane which confuses your brain. Whoops. There goes that disconnect that will make you feel sick.

It is better to be bored than sick!

Try to Sleep

I know that sleep is hard to come by on a plane under the best of circumstances. However, one of the side effects of motion sickness can be tiredness so perhaps you will be able to nap your airsickness away.

It helps to bring a few things to make yourself more comfortable. An eye mask and a neck travel pillow are must haves.

If You Are Seated By the Window Try Looking Out at the Horizon

Finding the horizon can be difficult on a plane, but if you do happen to be seated near a window you can try opening your shade and looking out. This can help to coordinate and stabilize the eyes and the inner ear.

interior of an airplane. You can see a row of seats and there is a sunset outside of the airplane window. One tip for how to prevent airsickness is to look at the horizon

Ginger or Peppermint

It might sound like an old wives tale, but some studies show that ginger really does help to alleviate nausea.

a hand holding a drink in front of an airplane window

I honestly found ginger to work well for me when I was struggling with airsickness, maybe it will for you, too!

When you are flying you can try sipping on ginger ale. In fact, you might even want to pick up a can right after you get through security so that you can sip before the cart service even starts.

If you prefer not to drink ginger ale try these ginger drops. I used these because obviously I couldn’t drink ginger ale while I was serving people. Do note that these drops are strong and spicy! I really thought that they helped.

Some people swear by peppermint to ease their airsickness. It never did much for me, but your mileage might vary. it wouldn’t hurt to throw some peppermints in your carryon bag!

Try Acupressure

There is a pressure point on your wrist, called the PC6, that is known to help some people with their motion sickness. Check this post here to see how to find this pressure point.

You can even try wearing a seasick wristband when you fly.

Talk to Your Doctor About Medication

If you find that you’ve tried everything and simply can’t fly without getting airsick then talk to your doctor before your next trip about some of the medications that are available. Dramamine is available over the counter but, of course, you will want to speak to your doctor before you try anything new.

I hope that these tips for how to avoid getting airsick help you on your next flight!

an airplane landing into the sunset. How to avoid getting airsick.

Thanks for stopping by!

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