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Air travel:our tips for a comfortable (and serene!) flight

Air travel:our tips for a comfortable (and serene!) flight Prolonged immobility, cabin pressurization, dry air… Long-haul flights expose you to multiple inconveniences. The right guide to arrive at your destination in top form.

The body is put to the test on the plane because flying is not natural to it. Beyond four hours spent at an altitude of more than 20,000 feet (up to 43,000 for airliners), incidents can occur. Don't panic:the flight personnel are trained in first aid and have a "doctor's box" containing all the emergency medication needed for the most frequent discomforts (digestive disorder or vagal discomfort).

In the event of a heart problem, the purser calls on the doctors present on board (8 times out of 10 there is at least one among the passengers on long-haul flights). Otherwise a rescue chain is organized with an Samu on the ground by satellite telephone. But these situations are exceptional. Most of the time, glitches reveal themselves after landing. Here's how to avoid them.


Immobility promotes ankylosis, with back or neck pain as a result. But there is more serious:the venous return is altered due to the seated position which compresses the thighs and hinders the rise of blood from the legs to the heart. Result:the blood stagnates at the bottom of the body and becomes more viscous. A clot is then likely to form and block the veins of the lower limbs (phlebitis) or migrate to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). This has long been called the "economy class syndrome".

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "the risk of a thromboembolic accident is multiplied by two after four hours of travel". One in approximately 6,000 travelers is affected. The best solution:get up every two hours at least and walk the central aisle. Also remember to uncross your legs, regularly stretch your calves and rotate your ankles to stimulate the venous pump.

People at risk – women in particular whose venous system is more fragile, especially when taking hormonal contraception – have an interest in wearing compression stockings (class 2 minimum). Sleeping pills and alcohol are strongly discouraged because they put you to sleep, which increases immobility.


The pressurized and conditioned air of airplanes is very dry. The air humidity level drops to 10% in the cabin. To counteract dehydration, one must drink plenty of water to recharge the body. Also plan something to hydrate your skin.

A thin layer of pure aloe vera gel (So'Bio étic) under the moisturizer and lip balm is a good option to counter evaporation. To renew as soon as it pulls. You can also provide face wipes or a thermal water spray (Avène, La Roche-Posay etc.).

Forget contact lenses on the plane so as not to irritate your eyes. Prefer glasses, especially if you plan to sleep on board, unless you have silicone hydrogel lenses which retain more moisture. Pack moisturizing eye drops (100 ml maximum size allowed) in your hand luggage to relieve your eyes in flight if needed.

Spare your ears

The pressure differences generated by take-off and landing harm the eardrums. It is often enough to yawn, swallow or chew gum to restore the pressure and stop the feeling of clogged ears. If the discomfort does not pass, pinch your nose while blowing very hard to unclog the eustachian tube.

And if the inconvenience amplifies and is accompanied by pain in the sinuses, consult a doctor as soon as you arrive. Hearing aid wearers should be especially careful. Our advice:unplug them when taking off and landing.

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