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Last time I travelled I wasn't feeling quite well just before boarding the plane. I either had eaten something wrong or a flu just appeared. The thought of having to vomit during the flight made me panic a bit. The pocket in front usually contain these paper bags that act as a "vomitorium", but I can hardly imagine them being useful especially with the cramped space you have these days. I tried to induce some preemptive vomiting before boarding without success but luckily a good powernap before boarding did the trick to have a nice trip.

So what is the best approach to deal with a bad stomach during a flight or just before boarding. If your really feel like vomiting, where or how to do that best?

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Getting rid of various bodily fluids seems to be a recurring theme on Travel-SE. –  mindcorrosive Feb 7 '13 at 20:35
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Getting rid of body fluids is just the biggest problem of all travelers around the world. –  RoflcoptrException Feb 7 '13 at 20:42
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@RoflcoptrException: True; especially when you can't really hold it back. –  Jonas Feb 7 '13 at 20:55
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2 Answers

up vote 21 down vote accepted

To @Halabi's excellent answer, I'd like to add the passenger perspective:

If you know that you may vomit during the flight, prepare yourself:

  • Have a change of clothes in your carry-on, in case you manage to vomit over your shirt and pants, plus a plastic bag to store your dirty clothes.
  • Bring tissues, or a towel, to clean up.
  • Make sure that there actually is a vomit bag in your seat pocket as you board, and move it somewhere you can easily reach, maybe get your neighbor's one as well, just in case. Do please put the unused bags back, though.
  • Talk to the crew, since they're really helpful. They may even be better equipped than you to clean up the mess, so don't try to fix it all by yourself.
  • If you're flying with a person you know may need assistance (such as a kid that won't give you much advance warning), be on high alert during turbulence (obviously), but also during pressure changes, i.e. take-off and landing (same problem as altitude sickness). Best wait a few minutes to calm down any upset stomach before exiting the plane.
  • to freshen up afterward, you may want to bring your toothbrush and toothpaste (there are small enough toothpaste tubes so that you're below the 100ml container liquid/gels rule). Alternatively, you can bring some mints/chewing gum (thanks, @zuallauz for the suggestion)
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"get your neighbor's one as well" is also a very good tip for the meals. :) –  Bernhard Feb 7 '13 at 20:46
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Trade vomit bag for meal is for mutual benefit. –  feklee Feb 7 '13 at 22:19
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You could also take with you some mints/chewing gum or toothbrush and small tube of toothepaste onboard with you to freshen up afterwards in the plane bathroom. If taking toothpaste on an international flight you'll need to make sure it's under 100 grams or 100 millilitres and contained in a clear plastic sealable bag. –  zuallauz Feb 7 '13 at 23:00
    
@zuallauz: good point! I'll add it to my answer –  Jonas Feb 7 '13 at 23:07
    
I don't think that brushing teeth after vomiting is a good idea. It may damage the tooth enamel, due to the acid in the vomit. –  feklee Feb 8 '13 at 10:08
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Here are few tips from the point of view of a cabin crew member:

  • Always tell the cabin crew, no cabin crew would want a passenger to vomit in the seat or floor, they will help you and even let you use the toilet in the worst times (shortly after take off or shortly before landing). Vomiting in the toilet is much easier and more comfortable it is just like vomiting at home! just remember one thing, get to the point when talking to the cabin crew by saying "I wanna vomit"! that will make them provide all the help! and do not vomit in the sink, the toilet will not be usable afterwards!

  • If the cabin crew were not helpful, and it is one of the times when you can not move (like take offs and landings), then you have no choice but to vomit while seated! I know this sounds difficult and embarrassing especially for adult males but do not worry! people do it all the time! just use the air sickness bag in front of you which are equipped to handle liquids and have seals. Just do not think of people around you because they are humans as well and they know how it feels! they will try to help you usually by calling cabin crew or by giving you more space or giving you tissues. Just concentrate on the vomiting without looking to people, do it then seal the bag. Put it under the seat until you are able to move to throw it in the toilet waste bin. Always remember to give the people around you a hint if you feel like doing so, this will save you from being extra embarrassed.

  • If you felt that your stomach is upset while boarding then try to move to a seat closer to the toilet, either by asking a passenger to switch the seat or by talking to the cabin crew to help you in that. This will make you feel secure and you will be able to jump quickly to the toilet when you feel like vomiting. If this was not possible try to move to a seat in an empty row (if available) or to a seat with an empty seat next to it. This will give you more space if you will have to do it while seated.

At the end, just remember nothing bad will happen to you even if you vomit on the floor or seat! The flight will finish eventually and you will go home and no one will remember!

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with the penetration of youtube.... i'm pretty sure no one will forget!! –  bPratik Feb 12 '13 at 20:35
    
Haha last option :D I remember I use to keep plastic bags with me while travelling Because I always had this problem of vomiting while travelling but now it has gone –  Ali Asad Dec 18 '13 at 2:55
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