Airplane travel

I never thought I’d be saying this but I’m planning an airplane trip! My husband has been planning to hike the PCT for 2 years, with the assumption that I would be hiking part of it with him (and bringing him much needed food.) And I have really really been feeling better. Driving all the time, taking buses and subways and long-distance trips. No problem! As always: computers, elevators and booze get me. Avoidable.

Who on this site has flown while still a little symptomatic? I’m not back 100% but am mostly fairly close. Close enough that I don’t think about it for large parts of the day!

Anyway, any thoughts on flying? When I had these symptoms before - on and off rather than persistent, flying was never an issue except for once.

Advice and thoughts very welcome!



I went to China recently. I’m still suffering and was dizzy some days of the holiday. The only effect the flights seem to have was an increase in tinnitus. It was a bit scary after the first long haul. Once I’d calmed down in the hotel the tinnitus seemed to calm down. I had mildish vertigo attacks on the first three days. I also feared the local food: Chinese use a lot of salt.

HOWEVER, after that I started to enjoy the holiday and the psychological distraction was brilliant. I even went to the hotel gyms.

But also this: I don’t know whether it was the heat or the healthy food (so much fresh fruit and veg!) but my vertigo stopped and a month later I’ve not had a vertigo attacks since. The fluid in my ear has decreased significantly. I feel like I’m on the final stretch. I’m much less dizzy since. Because I am diagnosed with potential fistula I even wonder if the long haul flight with me sat up for longer might have helped the wound heal?

In summary, I’d say don’t worry, take sudafed or equivalent decongestant 30 mins before landing to ensure your tubes are clear and ears are well ventilated. The distraction will be good for you and it will raise your confidence and show you that you have fewer limits even with this condition.

Remember to keep your meds in a plastic bag and show them as you go through security check. Take more than you need and spread it around your luggage during the visit to avoid being too exposed to the loss of one bag.

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GoodSense decongestant US Sudafed UK “Ear Planes”

I just got back from a trip to Hawaii while being very symptomatic due to being between meds. I got through the flights and accompanying layovers with the help of Xanax. I took one before the first flight and then again when the dizziness started to creep up again during the second flight. I also took some sudafed. It seems to help when there’s pressure changes. The taking off and especially landing is when I feel it the most but once in the air I’m ok for the most part. I felt a little wobbly once on the ground again but it went away fairly quickly. The funny thing is that I found the flights easier to deal with than walking around the airport with the lights and moving walkways. Given that you’re already relatively stable you may not have that many difficulties. I’d recommend sitting by a window so you can see what’s going on. If you have anything for breakthrough symptoms, like xanax or valium, be sure to bring it. Be careful not to push yourself too much before going like packing last minute and sacrificing sleep the night before. Depending on how long your flight is you may want to bring some snacks in your carry on so you can maintain some sort of regularity with your meals. Drink plenty of water and try not to worry about the trip. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I have been suffering from MAV for over 10 years but somehow airplane travel does not bother me. I cannot travel by boat without risking hours of vomiting, be on a high floor of a building, walk around a mall, driving bothers me, alcohol and yeast make me vomit, but somehow not airplanes. Good luck!

I have the same problem when riding a ferry too. I always throw up and feel so dizzy the whole travel. But once landed, I immediately feel better.

I feel I have to post since since I started this thread last summer. Well, it was an AMAZING trip. (Did I post about this already? I can’t remember!) I had NO problems flying at all, had a superb 3 weeks hiking the PCT, with lots of driving, altitude changes, all sorts of things that could have gone wrong. And I never felt better. Now that I’m back in Boston and trying to get a life started again - using the computer especially - I’m struggling. I have no career to speak of anymore. I think I have to become either a forest ranger or a poet. Anyway, thanks for all your support!


Ha Ha that cracked me up. Come on you hiked the PCT and you felt better doing it. I am sure it felt good to be outdoors. You will find a way to get your career back and things will fall in place.

Did you take Sudafed or anything on flight to ensure your Eustachian tubes or nose was not blocked ? I have a flight in December and i am starting to worry right now !

Vignesh, having an ear condition with a flight is always going to increase your risk, but I have a suspicion that by the time a sufferer gets MAV, the biggest risk has passed (assuming for a moment MAV = SEH, this suggests it comes on after a fistula has sufficiently healed for pressure to build up).

I flew to China as per prior posts and took an internal flight there. The biggest issue turned out to be the food which gave me really bad tinnitus, but the air pressures were fine. I took sudafed 30 minutes before landing on all flights.

Thanks James. Did you take any sedatives on the flight ?

Just amitriptyline to keep abreast of time zone change

I suffer from vestibular migraine and hellish chronic pain. Flights are horrendous for me. I need at least a couple of days to recoup from both the succor punch of severe vertigo and the crushing pain.

Your mileage may vary, but for me flights are terrible and I sincerely dread them.