Tips To Avoid Feeling Bloated After A Flight

Those with sensitive stomachs and delicate digestion will know that one overseas flight can leave you all kinds of messed up. However, the worst thing after touching down is that icky bloated feeling that makes you want to roll down the jetway like a genuine Violet Beauregarde. This feeling is so common it even has a name: jet bloat. Could this be JetBlue's unfortunately-named cousin?

Jokes aside, this is a very real reaction that people have after flying, for which there is no one explanation. However, one can surmise that between the extraordinarily long bouts of sitting, the lack of fluid intake, and the pressurized cabin environment, that stuff in the body is gonna go out of whack. Not to mention the airplane food, which is heavily salted or sweetened to counteract dulled tastebuds while flying (another effect of pressurization). While some of these things — like a pressurized cabin — are unavoidable, there are ways you can counteract bloating to try and land light on your feet on arrival.

Before you board

Preventing bloating begins with beating dehydration before it starts. This is because dehydration can lead to a host of weird and uncomfortable effects — not just bloating but also dry skin, itchy eyes, hunger, and that awful cotton mouth. To avoid this, make sure to drink plenty of fluids. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (via Mayo Clinic) recommends that men drink 15.5 cups of fluids a day, and women drink 11.5 cups of fluids a day. Though you should be doing this even when not flying, it doesn't hurt to pick up the habit before your travels.

This will have a multifaceted impact on your flying experience. Firstly, you'll not only be more hydrated (which is one way to prevent bloating), but you'll also be moving around more since you'll be going to the bathroom more frequently! Okay, we know that doesn't sound like a plus. But, when you consider that being sedentary can cause post-flight discomfort, this is a way to ensure you can seamlessly avoid that issue by getting up and moving around more. Secondly, you may also stay more satiated, meaning you won't snack so much on those salty pretzels and crisps.

This leads us to one more pre-flight tip. Eat a light meal before your flight and avoid alcohol. Additionally, if you know you have a sensitive stomach, consider packing your own food. This is a surefire way to avoid foods that will trigger your bloating.

In-flight tips to beat the bloat

Once you are on the plane, there are plenty of other ways to stay hydrated and stave off that bloated feeling. For starters, bring a reusable water bottle with you on board and fill it up at the airport or directly from the flight attendants before takeoff. This ensures that you always have access to fresh, clean water while you're seated and give you an excuse to get up for a refill as needed. 

Secondly, don't be afraid to be that person that stands awkwardly in the open areas of the airplane. We're all in the same boat (or rather, airplane), and most passengers are sympathetic to a person's need to stand up and stretch once in a while. This will keep your blood flowing, your booty from getting sore, and your bowels happy. However, if you know you'll need or want to get up frequently, make sure to book an aisle seat!