Where to Sit to Avoid Airsickness and the Dreaded Barf Bag

When asked which airline seat they'd choose to avoid the discomfort (and embarrassment) of airsickness, the consensus among a random sampling of my acquaintances was a big comfy seat up front. A first-class seat, in other words.

Comfort as the antidote to discomfort. Makes sense, right?

Seemingly sensible or not, it turns out that a first-class seat is as likely to exacerbate motion sickness as a coach seat at the very rear of the plane. The most soothing seats, from an airsickness standpoint, are those that minimize nausea-inducing turbulence. And those are the seats directly over the wing, in the middle of the plane, because they pitch the least when the aircraft flies through bumpy air.

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So, for those who are prone to airsickness, the first step in keeping their symptoms at bay is booking a seat over the wings. Since the center of the plane is almost always populated with coach-class seats, that strategy also comports nicely with a cost-saving approach to air travel.

Another seat-related thought: If claustrophobia isn't a problem, book a window seat. Focusing on the horizon can help mitigate airsickness.

A few other suggestions:

  • Don't eat heavy, greasy meals before flying
  • Don't drink alcohol before or during the flight
  • Avoid reading or other activities that require close-up vision
  • Use the air vents to keep air flowing
  • Dramamine and other medications for motion sickness are available over-the-counter, and more powerful meds can be obtained with a doctor's prescription

If none of the above hold off the nausea, there's always the barf bag.

Reader Reality Check

When was the last time you saw someone get airsick on a plane? (I ask because it seems to be an increasingly rare occurrence.)

More from SmarterTravel:

Read the original story: Where to Sit to Avoid Airsickness and the Dreaded Barf Bag by Tim Winship, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

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