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On long-haul flights, changes in cabin pressure during take-off and landing can lead to health problems. Air pressure in the cabin is lower than at sea level. As cabin pressure falls while flying, gas starts to expand. As a result, you may feel pressure in your stomach or digestive system. 

Gas and bloating are common. Bloating occurs when food is not digested properly. Undigested food is broken down by bacteria as it passes from the small intestine to the large intestine. This in turn produces hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. If this cycle is not completed, it can lead to indigestion. 

The human body will expel gas 14-15 times per day. The majority of this is done through burping. The remainder passes through the large intestine and is partially absorbed. Consult your doctor if you suffer from frequent burping, bring up water when burping, or experience stomach pain after burping. If you often have problems with your stomach or digestion, eat light, probiotic foods before flying. 

When flying, avoid foods which tend to cause gas. In addition to this, be sure to drink plenty of water while traveling but avoid carbonated drinks like sparkling water and cola. 

Gas problems when flying 

By paying attention to the following points, you can avoid gas problems and enjoy a comfortable flight. 

  • On the day before you fly, have at least one meal which contains seasonal vegetables. 
  • On the morning of your flight, drink a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into it. 
  • Avoid caffeine before flying, or drink herbal tea instead.
  • Avoid food and drink which contain carbohydrates. 
  • Walk around while waiting at the airport. 
  • Go to the bathroom before boarding the flight. 
  • Avoid oily foods while flying. 
  • Keep consumption of salty foods low while flying. 
  • Eat and drink slowly. Air enters the digestive system every time you swallow. Swallowing too much air can cause bloating. 
  • Avoid fruits, legumes and vegetables which are known to cause gas. 
  • Avoid dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and ice-cream. 
  • Drink un-carbonated, non-alcoholic beverages. 
  • On long-haul flights, try to stand up and take a walk around the cabin every 2 hours. 
  • If you use medication containing simethicone for your digestive problems, keep this with you during your flight. 
  • If you are in significant discomfort before or after flying, be sure to consult your doctor.

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We recommend that you take a few measures to make sure you enjoy a comfortable flying experience. If you would like to know more about a particular topic, please contact our call center.