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Home > Air Travel > Vomiting on long haul flight
Vomiting on long haul flight
Flying - Air Travel
Monday, 17 February 2014 14:50

Avoid Air Sickness on a Flight

Dear Mr Lim,

I love reading your blog and I recently bought your book from AirAsia. I have some questions and hope that you can help me.

My son is 12 years old. We travel a lot every year. He was ok flying long haul since he was a child until when he reached 9 and started vomiting non-stop during flights.

On many occasions, he even starts vomiting before leaving the house, then non-stop pre-boarding and during flights.

He seems to be ok for short haul flights (maybe up to 3 hours). We are still traveling nevertheless. He likes to travel but the constant vomiting really annoys us.

My questions are:

1) What causes vomiting in the flight? (He does not have any motion sickness).

2) How to overcome the problem? Are there any medications or exercises that can reduce the vomiting?

3) Malaysia Airlines nowadays do not carry sufficient sick bags, so we bring our own. Can we report to this to the air safety authority for violating any rules?

4) They even wanted us to throw the sick bags ourselves into the toilet waste bin. In long haul flights, there are always long queue for the toilets. Is there any other ways of getting a better service? (We only fly coach)

And last question: How to get an autograph from you on your book?



Hi Chan,

Vomiting is normally the result of motion sickness. This is caused by a conflict between the eyes and the ears. The inner ears detect the car or plane is moving but the eyes which focus within the plane or car does not. The brain receives conflicting signals and nausea feeling starts.

Usually this will cause your son to complain about the queasy feeling before the actual vomiting starts.

Some children are more prone to motion sickness than others. Yes, I was afflicted with motion sickness when I started flying but I grew out of it.

Your son’s non-stop vomiting before leaving the house and pre-flight may appear to be a little chronic. Perhaps it may be psychological because he may be thinking about previous similar events and this may trigger it. This is not my expertise but a doctor may provide better explanation and advice on this issue to you.

Encourage your child to focus on a distant point outside the car or plane through the windows. Avoid activities such as reading or playing hand-held video games where the eyes stay focused inside during the journey.

A child on the verge of nausea may feel better with more fresh air and avoid strong-smelling foods or snacks. Get your son to fight his queasiness by munching on some dry crackers but avoid greasy and hard-to-digest food

There are motion sicknesses drugs which are best prescribed by the doctor and should be taken before the trip starts.

If your son is prone to motion sickness, you should bring your own sickness bag. Sometimes the sick bags in your seats may have been used and not replenished by mistake. It happens in many airlines and not just Malaysia Airlines. As such, I don’t think they are deliberately violating any regulations.

Normally the flight attendant would help in the disposal of the sick bag. You can complain to the purser or the airlines if they refuse to assist.

If you are from Malaysia, you can purchase an autographed copy of my book by paying the shipping charges together with your home address. More information would be given to you via your next private email to me

Wish you a more pleasant flight next

How to avoid motion sickness and jetlag?


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Vomiting on Long Haul flights - get checked for H. pylori
I have traveled a lot (almost 2 million miles) the last 20 years mainly for business. About 5 years ago, I started vomiting on any flight longer than 5 hours. Once I started vomiting, it would not stop until I land. It did not matter if I was flying economy or business class. I tried everything - nausea meds, not eating which made it worse, eating lightly and the only thing that seemed to help if I force myself to eat throughout the flight to keep my stomach full. Last year, when I went for a comprehensive medical check up, I was surprised to test positive for H pylori. I had no other H pylori symptoms and am a very healthy person who seldom gets sick. I went through the triple therapy with antibiotics and confirmed that the H pylori was gone. Now, I am able to be on a flight for about 13 hours before my stomach feels like emptying itself. I suspect that my stomach is still recovering from the H pylori infection and one day, I might be able to take longer flights. If you find yourself throwing up and the feeling of needing to vomit seems to originate from your stomach, it is a good idea to get checked for H pylori.
YFC , 04 Oct, 2017

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