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These are all the crazy things your body goes through when you fly

A woman is standing in the middle of an airplane.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned traveller of a jittering first time mess – flying can be a nerve racking experience. Most of us are so busy worrying about turbulence, if 10am is an acceptable time to ease the nerves with a glass of on-board wine and how the hell we’re going to stay sane for 12 hours sat on an 18-inch seat, we don’t tend to consider the implications flying actually has on our bodies.

Well, thanks to recent studies by some pretty shocking stats about what happens to our body after boarding a flight (in particular long-haul flights) have come to light. And let’s just say, it’s no wonder we’re all left feeling groggy AF when we touch back down to ground.

Brace yourself…

What happens to your body during air travel - infographic.

You’ll become dehydrated

Toilet trips on a plane can be awkward, especially when you’re in the aisle seat and need to clamber over a group of sleeping people. But unless you want to cause yourself some serious dehydration, no doubt combined by headaches and dizziness, you’ll need to embrace the awkward toilet encounters. With a 3-hour flight losing up to 1.5 litres of water from your body, water is absolutely key, and we mean large quantities of it! And hydration isn’t just confined to the drinking water, you can also keep your body hydrated by avoiding caffeine, drinking plenty of water and putting in eye drops.

Blood will pool in your legs

Sounds dramatic right, but lack of movement leads to fluid building up around your body, increasing the risk of deep vein thrombosis. Sure it’s easy to get carried away catching up on back-to-back films but keeping your body active is vital. In-seat exercises and frequent walks down the (plane) aisle are absolutely imperative.

You’ll drink poison

… A bit much, but according to water on planes has been found to contain traces of E. coli and other harmful bacteria. So, to avoid ‘being poisened’ buy some sealed bottled water once you’ve gone through airport security.


You’re deprived of oxygen

75% less oxygen to be exact, which can cause hypoxia (a condition leaving you feeling dizzy, fatigued and headachy). This can be further effected by drinking alcohol, which slows down your metabolism, making it harder for your body to absorb oxygen. So say no to booze and yes to oxygen – Holding off on the celebratory champers until you’ve made it to your dreamy destination can really help with the fuzzy flight feels.

You’re surrounded by germs

Calling all clean freaks, it’s your time to shine. The chances of catching a cold are over 100 times higher when flying so hand sanitisers, face masks and keeping as hygienic as possible are a must.

You won’t be able to hear or taste much

Maybe not such a bad thing with crying babies and anti insta-worthy plane food … But sinus pains are not the one, especially when you’re stuck on a plane at 39,000 ft. So be sure to keep swallowing plenty of water, chew on gum and even have some nasal drops to hand to counteract this from happening.

So who’s ready for their next flight?! At least the destination at the end of the journey makes it all worth while…