Some people on this board have expressed concern over flying with MAV/VN/etc, so I just thought that I would report that I recently did a lot of flying and came through in one piece.
I had been putting off taking any flights since this condition struck me about 10 months ago. But I typically have to spend a few months in Asia each year to oversee our offices there (I am a lawyer for an investment company). I couldn’t put it off any longer. Luckily, my company pays for me to fly business class and they pay for my wife as well since it is a multi-month assignment, and I use my miles to upgrade my daughters, so we can all fly business. I fly on Japan Airlines, which is not the best Asian airline but is better than the American airlines like United, American, Delta, etc. If I was paying out of my own pocket, I would have to fly economy or premium economy. I mention this because I think it makes a difference when you can fly business: on the flight, I got a great meal of sushi and filet steak, rice, green tea, pickled fish and rice, etc., plus got a seat that was pretty much a lie-flat shell, food and drink when you want it, the flight attendants play with your kids, etc.
Went on Japan Airlines from Chicago to Tokyo, then spent the night at Narita, and flew to Taipei the next morning. Both flights were constantly rocky, not white-knuckle rocky, and no seat belt signs went on, but just a continuous side to side and up and down that got annoying.
Before the flight, I had been taking 1/4 of a .5 Klonopin nightly. As I got on the plane, I took another small piece. I felt good for most of the flight, I was chilled out but did not sleep for the first 7 hours. At the 8 hour mark, I fell asleep for an hour and woke up a little dizzy and disoriented, slightly panicked. I took .25 of the Klonopin, which chilled me right out, and then I played chess on the entertainment system for two hours until it was time to get ready to land. Got off the plane, shuttle to hotel, slept for seven hours, woke up, got ready for the shuttle back to airport, then flight to Taipei. Also took a little extra Klonopin on that flight and was able to play chess. Somehow I find chess to be a good distraction since it takes your mind off the flight. I arrived with jet lag but was able to take care of the kids, get set up at the hotel, and basically handle everything without trouble.
Bottom line: it was ok for me to fly with MAV/VN but I was smart to bring along a lot vestibular suppressant. I basically had to go from a dose of .125 Klonopin to nearly .5 Klonopin for the two days of the flights, and now I am tapering back down. I believe that Scott has posted this advice already, but I would double down on it.
At the suggestion of my doctor (Dr. Cherchi at the Chicago Dizzy and Hearing Clinic), I used the Ear Planes during take off and landing, but I found that they did not seem to do much for me, and they irritated my ear for a couple days after the flight. I am not sure whether they helped or not.
Now that I am here, I feel no different than I did in the States – I am dizzy to the same extent, no worse or better.
I am glad that I made the flight and continued with my life as it would have been without this terrible condition. I still have some more flying to do inter-Asia (Hong Kong, Beijing, Thailand) but those should be do-able with the same system. While here, I am trying to see a neurologist just for the hell of it, to see if there are any new angles that they are playing out here. The only disappointment is that I was going to try starting on anti-depressants but figure that I should wait till I am back home where my doctors are located in case I get some weird side effect or reaction.
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