Tips for Managing Flight Anxiety and Altitude Sickness

I love to travel to new places, but absolutely hate the process of getting on a plane and flying to my destination. Honestly, it’s 2019. Why aren’t we apparating by now? The more I think about it, it’s not that I hate to fly, it’s more that flying hates me. I know, always one to be dramatic, but flying is and always has been a terrifying experience for me. It’s confusing to some because even though I have flight anxiety, I’m technically not afraid to fly. I’m not afraid that the plane will crash or that something traumatic will happen, but I get so sick when I fly that the entire process gives me extreme anxiety.

A few years ago, I was flying home from Seattle after visiting a friend. I started to feel extremely weak and nauseous, and being the genius that I am, I tried to “walk it off.” I took a few steps, trying to make it to the bathroom, and passed out in the aisle of the plane. It took me several minutes to come to, and I could hear the flight attendants communicating with the pilot that we may have to emergency land the plane. That’s been my scariest moment on a flight, but my issues go back much further than that. I’ve flown countless times, but could probably only name 1 or 2 flights where I haven’t gotten sick.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been able to manage my flight anxiety with xanax and my altitude sickness with dramamine, but I’ve worked really hard to live a non-toxic life and it felt weird to me to be taking in these drugs while being such an advocate for natural remedies. I only take a few trips a year by plane so I didn’t mind to have these toxins in my system for such a short amount of time, but I have 12+ trips planned in 2019 and it’s been really eating away at me to get control of my anxiety/sickness before my traveling commences.

I’m sharing the complete list of what works for me and if you also have tips to share, please do! I was so encouraged while sharing my struggles during flying that so many people go through the same thing as me.

Have a pre-flight routine in place that works for YOU. I keep my routine pretty consistent. I leave for the airport about 2 hours before my flight boards. I know that seems really early, but I don’t like to feel rushed or take chances with security. I also opt-out of the security screening and prefer a private pat down. This can take time depending on how busy the security lines are, so I allow myself extra time. I have a heightened sense of urgency so arriving this early and blocking off time is what works best for me and my anxiety. Once I’m through security, I walk to my gate and ask for pre-boarding. Southwest Airlines is typically the only airline I fly and, in my experience, they are extremely accommodating for passengers with flight anxiety. I explain that I have severe flight anxiety and require a seat closer to the front. After I’m all squared away with security and boarding, if time allows I grab a bite to eat and always spend some time in prayer and meditation.

Prepare your body for the flight.

Water. Drink so much water and then drink more water than you think you need. The week leading up to a flight I’ll drink 100 ounces of water everyday. And then the day before I’ll up to 120-150 ounces. I know that sounds like a lot, but staying hydrated is the key to fighting altitude sickness. Also on the flight, skip the soda and alcohol and drink water! This simple tip is a total game changer.

Motion Sickness Remedies. I technically don’t have motion sickness, but before I discovered that my issues was altitude vs. motion, I’ve researched and purchased 2 products that I would definitely support anyone in taking. #1 – Borax. You dissolve 5 borax pellets under your tongue and it helps with flight motion sickness, especially in planes during deceleration. #2 – Motion sickness tincture. I use the brand Newton Homeopathics. It is formulated for associated symptoms to motion sickness like dizziness, discomfort, headache, nausea and disorientation. You take 6 drops under your tongue and you can build up to the full dropper. I still take these because it can’t hurt!

Essential Oils. I live for essential oils and love that there is one for literally everything. For nausea, I’d recommend ginger. For anxiety, I’d recommend peace and calming (young living EO blend) or stress away (YL EO blend). I also love lavender to help me drift in to a peaceful sleep on the flight.

Daily Chloroxygen Intake. These capsules are heaven sent and I wish I had discovered them sooner. The week leading up to your flight take 1, 2x a day. The day before and of my flight I take 2, 2x a day. “Chloroxygen chlorophyll concentrate increases the amount of oxygen cells. It supports the production of red blood cells and its blood-oxygen carrying capacity.”

Relax and say a prayer. I mentioned earlier that I spend time in meditation and prayer, and this has become a crucial step for me. If you get as sick as I do when you fly, you know it’s imperative to just give this whole situation to God. When you’re up in the air at 32,000 feet feeling like you’re literally going to die because your body can’t get enough air, there’s only person who can save you. He’s our perfect peace and holds our hand steady in hard times.

Take Deep Breaths. 1. because you’re just not getting enough air and 2. because it will help with anxiety. I take deep breaths during take off until I fall asleep.

Bonus Tip: there’s always something or someone sweet waiting for you on the other side of that plane. Keep their faces in mind to get you through.

At the end of the day, also do what’s best for you. I had a 4.5 hour flight to Portland and ended up taking a 1/2 of a less-drowsy dramamine because it gave me a little more peace of mind.

It almost feels silly to prepare so much to fly, but it can feel paralyzing to have flight anxiety. I’d love to get up and go anytime I choose, but I’m constantly worried about if I’ll get sick, will the person sitting next to me be understanding/compassionate if I throw up, or what if this is the time that I don’t bounce back from getting sick.

It’s been empowering to do my part to prepare my physical body and emotional state to fly and do all that I can to set myself up for a smooth flight.


  1. Mercedes Lewis

    January 24th, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    Great suggestions! I’ve been interesting in getting into essential oils but I get a bit overwhelmed!

  2. Mercedes L

    January 24th, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    Great Tips! I need to read up on EO.

  3. nicolialia pizzeria

    February 6th, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    It’s nearly impossible to find educated people on this subject,
    but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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