Barfing on a plane – the do’s and don’ts

1. Don’t fly – if you feel sick before boarding a flight, talk to an agent about rebooking on a later flight. Trust me, it’s better to be sick in the terminal than on an airplane. At least in the terminal you can leave. Once on the plane you’re stuck.

2. Don’t ask to sit in first class – On a recent flight during boarding, a passenger told me she felt ill and then immediately asked if there were any first class seats available. Just because you’re sick doesn’t mean you can sit in first class.

3. Do locate the barf bag As soon as you feel nauseous look inside the seat back pocket in front of you for a barf bag. Because you may not have one. It’s amazing just how many have been transformed into hats (pictured), dresses, ipod holders, gum holders, trash bags, or used as paper for writing letters.

4. Do tell a flight attendant – Don’t wait until the last minute to inform a flight attendant you’re not feeling well. Tell us ASAP! This way we’ll be able to take better care of you. We’ll even give you something bigger to throw up in. Those little barf bags are not large enough for projectile vomiting. Trust us, we know.

5. Do sit near the front of the aircraft – Mix an upset stomach with a little turbulence and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The front of the aircraft is always a lot less bumpy than the back. Just make sure to ring your call light and tell a flight attendant what’s going on before it gets too bumpy to move you to another seat!




  1. I never knew a post about barfing could be this entertaining! Thanks for writing, keep up the excellent job!

  2. I always told them to breathe, look forward and avoid moving around in turbulence.

    The air-sick prone’s nightmare; the dreaded HOLDING PATTERN. Around and around we go. When we can land, no one knows… Breathe, look outside, don’t move… I’d chant, starting to feel ill myself.

  3. Very good tips! I have been lucky enough so far not to barf, or have any of my traveling companions barf, on an airplane.

    Barf bags also make excellent puppets to entertain young children.

  4. I have gotten sick both times I’ve flown to Denver. Do you see patterns where some routes are more barf-inducing than others?

  5. You oughta see my cool airline barf bag collection. Was thinking of selling it on ebay, but then again, it has far too much sentimental value for me.

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