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How to make your flying experience better

Preparation Preparation Preparation: The first rule of flying is to make sure that, you prepare for the actual flight. Get there early, you might find that you are singled out for a random check which adds to you passage through customs and controls.

Check the seating before you fly, better still take advantage of the internet check in facility if it is available.

Eat before you board; the food you are expecting could have been cancelled or delayed. Take some snacks with you just in case.

Reading material can be a lifesaver, crosswords can get the kids involved and relieve boredom.

Some airlines - such as Ryanair - insist on your having absolutely nothing other than your carry-on luggage with you when you board; no carrier bags, no cameras, nothing. Their size rules can mean that even a bulging bag of an allowable size is refused. - Alain Merlin

Ear Popping. Avoid flying if you have cold, flu, or hay-fever. If you have to fly take an oral decongestant before and after landing. For babies letting them suck a bottle or dummy will help them reduce earache.

Popping ears: To prevent ear popping when travelling by air suck sweets, sip drinks, swallow, chew, or yawn when problems start to occur. – Scott Ed.

Flying, ear-popping. I recommend using ear plugs, put them in 30 mins before take-off and take them out after landing. A good brand is "Ear-planes" which is specifically designed for this. Dan.(Daniel Penny) 

Re.: Travel tips, Ears Popping. I fly airplanes for a living, and the previous tips regarding "ear blockage" need further attention.

The "blocking of the nose, and blowing" is commonly known as the Valsalva maneuver (see Webster's dictionary.) While this maneuver may certainly relieve sinus, or ear pressure; some fundamentals should be understood!

Air pressure, like water pressure, is higher at lower altitudes (or lower at higher altitudes.)

Imagine a helium filled balloon. If released into the air, it climbs. As the air pressure outside the balloon decreases, the rubber balloon feels more pressure from inside. This continues until the pressure inside the balloon overcomes the rubber strength and bursts the balloon.

In the same way, if sinus pressure is not able to escape at a normal rate, the higher pressure inside your head will feel painful. If you now apply further pressure, using the Valsalva maneuver, you "could" burst your tissue balloon. However, while descending to lower altitudes, the pressure will be applied from outside your sinus system. Your inner ear has had time to adjust to the pressures at altitude and will now feel a higher pressure from outside. The Valsalva maneuver "may" relieve pressure under this situation. Remember though, you are not attempting to inflate a car tire with you mouth. Extreme pressure "may" do damage at any altitude.

My suggestion: I have been flying for more than 13 years and served as Captain on Boeing 737 and McDonnell Douglas MD80 aircraft. I have never needed to use the Valsalva maneuver. The moment you feel the aircraft climbing or descending (the slight tingle in your ear); you should begin yawning, chewing, swallowing, and exercising your jaws. Each of these techniques helps, and some work better for some than others. The key is to "prevent" ear blockage, not correcting it after it hurts. If you have a sinus irritation prior to flying, consult your physician; possibly use some sinus relief medication.

I apologize for the lengthy explanation; but it hurts my ears to see a recommendation for the Valsalva maneuver without any explanation of the physics.

Good Luck; and Happy Flying! --   (K. Simmons)

Tips when flying  While a flight attendant, we found these tips really worked!  1. If you stomach is a little jumpy, suck on ice cubes. Do not eat or drink anything else for several hours.  2. If your ear start to feel "weird" and especially if you have a small child complaining of ear ache, get a coffee cup (paper or styrofoam) and on the bottom of the cup, put one or more paper towels that have been soaked in very hot water and wrung out. Place the cup over the ear that's causing discomfort. In a few moments, your ear will feel better.   3. NEVER fly if you have any kind of sinus problems!! If you must, be sure to take medication several hours prior to your flight. -- K Smith

Ear Pains: If you're flying and you feel your ears start to pop, whatever you do DON'T plug your nose, close your mouth and friend did it and burst her eardrums. Another trick to try is to put two cups over your ears, it can help to equalize the pressure.  -- Heather & Steve Campbell 

Air-Sickness: Sit above the wing where there is least turbulence – Scott Edmunds 1998.

Fear of Flying Here's a free online course to help with the fear of flying. -- Stacey Chance


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