Reduce Bloating While Flying With These Genius Flight Attendant Tricks

A lot of things can happen to your body when you're 30,000 feet up in the air. You may experience motion sickness that makes you yearn for a different spot. You may also feel unexpectedly chilly, especially if you're seated in a cabin with temperatures cranked up a notch too high. Even your sense of taste changes slightly, and you may find yourself craving a tasty, fizzy beverage mid-flight. And let's not forget the dreaded bloating, thanks to the change in cabin pressure.


But according to Barbi, a journalist and veteran flight attendant with nearly 40 years of flying experience for a major U.S. airline, that bloating is completely normal. She is not immune to it, and the good news is there are things you can do to alleviate it before and during your flight.

In an exclusive interview with Islands, Barbi revealed a key culprit behind in-flight bloating: dehydration. "When people travel, they often don't get as much H2O as they need. Combin[ing] this with the drier air in the cabin can slow down digestion, which increases bloating," she explained. But eating the right foods before the flight can make all the difference. "Avoid anything with a high salt/sodium content — think all fast food, along with soda. Fried foods and highly processed foods also tend to have a lot of sodium, so try to avoid them when flying," she advised, adding that bringing fresh food, like an apple, can help.


Preparation is key to dodging excessive bloating

When you're mid-flight, your options for tackling bloating are limited. So, as with all things, prevention is better than a cure. Barbi told Islands that since you can't expect a gourmet salad bar in the airplane food selection, you might want to bring your own fresh goodies. "Fresh fruits or veggies are your best friend to offset bloating. Apples, celery slices or jicama are easy to pack," she said. "Plus they have the added bonus of a high fiber and water content, which does wonders for your digestive system during and after long flights!"


If hauling a mini-produce section through security isn't your thing, at least stuff yourself with fresh food before you board. Gobble up those fruits and veggies and avoid any processed stuff. Barbi also recommends drinking at least a liter of water for flights over two hours. And when the beverage cart rolls around, opt for water instead of soda. If you absolutely need the fizz, however, a plain club soda will do the trick.

As for your in-flight fashion, think comfort over couture. Squeezing into tight pieces is a clothing mistake you don't want to make. "Looser clothing is also very helpful!" Barbi noted. "Save your belts and fitted clothing for destination outfits." Plus, she recommends moving around mid-flight. "Get up and walk whenever it is safe to do so, when the seatbelt sign is off," she said. "This is especially helpful on longer flights. Try at least once or twice every hour when you're not sleeping."


You may want to go easy on the alcohol

Drinking alcohol makes you bloated even when you're firmly on the ground. Spoiler alert: It's no different when you're high up in the sky. In fact, in addition to bloating, you might find yourself feeling more drunk mid-flight. So, if you love your cocktails, maybe save them for later unless you're keen on feeling queasy for the rest of the trip. "One thing people don't know is that alcohol is two to three times as potent in a pressurized cabin as it is on the ground," Barbi told Islands. "So keep that in mind when having your favorite inflight alcoholic beverage."


But if you can't resist the temptation of treating yourself to a mid-flight drink (don't worry, we get it), Barbi suggests drinking water right along with it. "Let's be honest, sometimes part of the fun is the inflight cocktail, so pair it one-to-one with a glass of water," she advised. "It'll help offset the dehydrating and inebriating effects of the alcohol." Always keep in mind that balance is key. A drink in one hand and a water bottle in the other can keep you from landing with a pounding head and a bloated belly.