I’ve been sick over the last 36 hours like I haven’t been sick in over a decade…a virulent stomach flu so bad that I have not even been able to keep water down. The worst part of it? My illness set in halfway through my Los Angeles to Singapore flight…
I was so excited to be on this inaugural United flight and I will have many details about the pre-flight festivities and the flight itself in future posts. But for now, let me discuss what it’s like to develop the stomach flu on an ultra-longhaul flight.
Worst. Feeling. Ever.
As we took off, I was still feeling great. After a delicious dinner, I reclined my seat and fell asleep. About eight hours later I woke up…with horrific stomach pains. I walked up to the lavatory…and everything came out. I’ll leave the specifics to your imagination…
It’s the first time I’ve thrown up in years…what a horrible feeling. Horrible.
I spent what seemed like he majority of the rest of the flight in the lavatory. I could not hold anything down. When you get sick and throw up on an aircraft, the feeling of dehydration is only magnified. But I could not even keep water down…
United handpicked the crew for this inaugural flight and the purser happened to be the one taking care of my side of the aisle. She was so kind in checking on me often and offering her assistance. But there wasn’t much anyone could do.
In Singapore, I spent the day in bed. Such a beautiful city that I only get to watch from my hotel room. Sad.
If I don’t feel better by morning, I am going to the hospital.
Have you ever gotten sick on a longhaul flight before?
Rest and get well, we can wait for blog updates!
That sounds awful. My go to guess would be the food served by UA. Feel better.
Honestly sounds like food poisoning, symptoms and time frame fits perfectly, but could be wrong. Only thing I could hold down was sucking on jolly ranchers for the sugar.
I feel your pain. Same thing happened to me half way from LAX to HNL. Threw up constantly even after awe landed. Get some Gatorade or Smartwater – something with electrolytes to help rehydrate. I didn’t figure that out for a few days. Once I felt better went out in heat and humidity and it started again. Once I started the Gatorade it was gone for the rest of the trip. But I’ll never eat the rigatoni on Delta again!
Matthew. No words man. Play it safe, get home safe and we’ll look forward to reading. Hopefully you can turn your pain and neat experiences into some great posts.
Been there, done that. Thankfully not from Delhi Belly, but twice I’ve gotten a sinus infection the day before having to fly home from India. Once I was flying BOM-JFK nonstop on DL, the other time DEL-ORD nonstop on AA, both of which clocked in between 15 and 16 hours. Flying with a sinus infection just might possibly be worse, because your head is constantly full of pressure, and your ears feel like they’re going to explode every time you descend. My ears bother me a lot while descending under normal conditions, so you can imagine how bad that was…
Hope you get to feeling better.
I haven’t, but I sure have had it happen at my sisters college graduation. And my grandfather has fainted in qantas first class enroute to Melbourne right in the middle of the aisle. Things do happen. Please feel better soon, Heidi’s probably worried sick about you, be sure that you give her and the baby boy a big hug (when you aren’t contagious, that is).
Please understand that I am not a physician.
Being sick like this can lead to dehydration and an imbalance in certain metabolytes, including Sodium and Pottasium. At a certain point this imbalance can be not compatible with life. If you are not feeling better and if your heart rate is not in a normal range get emergency treatment. It might be as simple as an IV or drinking something. If you were in the USA I would suggest having gatorade ready for Doctor’s orders.
Once you get past this you can try to guess what caused it. You might never be sure. It seems easy to blame food but it could be a virus picled up on a doorknob! Chills and fever would be an interesting symptom.
I have not thrown up on an ultra-long hall flight as you have suggested, but have thrown up at my sisters college graduation celebration, after not throwing up for six years. My Grandfather has fainted in the smack dab middle of the aisle in qantas first class enroute to Melbourne. You are not the only one who has embarrassing experiences, my friend. But please get better soon, and sooth your worried-sick wife and son by giving them a hug when you get home (when you aren’t contagious, obviously).
You should be in a hospital hooked up to fluids for a day at least. I say this because you said you couldn’t hold down water. If you were able to keep water / gatorade / rehydration liquids down, I wouldn’t suggest this, but if you get dehydrated enough, you are risking your life.
Hope you’re recovering by now!
At least you’re in SIN. 100 Plus is the cure to all ailments
Food poisoning from meal night before HKG-BOS. Started feeling it on the HK express, laid down in the day beds in the Pier, then suddenly got hit with it wanting out as we’re throttling up for takeoff. Thank god I was in first as anyone next to be would think a demon was possessing me.
Oh my gosh Matthew! Worried about you. Please keep us updated.
Sorry to hear you are feeling awful. Hope you get better.
Wrote a post about this recently at OMAAT. I had in-flight food poising twice in 2016, and any frequent traveler should be prepared for this scenario. Figure out what works for you’re sick and never board a plane without it. Speedy recovery, Matthew!
Hope you feel better! I remember getting sick a few years ago on a YYZ-DUS flight in LH Y. It wasn’t as bad as what you are going through, but it still feels awful being sick on a plane in such a cramped place, especially in Y. The crew on that LH flight were very friendly and were constantly checking on me to make sure I was ok. Just try to rest up, try to drink something and hopefully you are better tomorrow.
Yes, once traveling transatlantic alone with two young kids. Transfer and connection in AMS was horrible as well. We all got to see many family restrooms together. We somehow made it to Portugal but didn’t really eat for 2-3 days. A good reason to NOT go on vacation alone with your kids.
To help with dehydration when unwell, especially when on a flight, drink water with a little salt and half a teaspoon of sugar. Sip on it. Dont guzzle it down,.
oh no … luckily we have great hospitals in singapore. hope you feel better soon.
you know you don’t really need to go to a hospital, right? you can just walk into a neighborhood clinic and walk out with meds for $30.
OMG, just the thought of it. I just flew UA Singapore to SFO last week so I can only imagine given the distance and confined space, etc. My husband once suffered the same sick stomach/bowel upset on a LHR-JFK flight and spent most of the flight in the blue room. I felt horrible for him, could do nothing for him. It’s torture and truly a time when one can’t wait to get off the flight and home or in bed. Sorry you couldn’t enjoy Singapore.
Aeroflot SVO-JFK on a connection from TAS. Long story short, ate fresh vegetables at a banquet in Uzbekistan the night before where I was the guest of honor and felt I couldn’t turn down the hospitality. Had a reaction like they had been irradiated (thankfully, later confirmed this was not the case). Spent the entire flight in agony, though luckily I retained some control over my bodily functions. Like your experience, the flight attendants were sympathetic but what could they do really? I agree the severe dehydration is nightmarish, who knew how much water the body normally holds — found out when I got home that I had lost nearly 10 lbs. Recovered quickly once I got home and got some rest and medical attention. Thanks for bringing back the memories 🙂
I have had luck with stomach illness by taking both activated charcoal as well as cider vinegar capsules. Through adsorption, the toxins cling to the charcoal (coconut charcoal). Rest up, we like your posts but want you to feel better first!
Think I found the cause of your illness …
Hope you’re all fixed up by now. I haven’t thrown up on a plane, but I did get verrrrrry sick on a flight from AMS to LAX. I was coming home from a very long, very…strenuous…weekend in Berlin. The no sleep kind. Midway through the flight I woke up in a sweat and couldn’t really bother to lift my arms. I needed a bit of help putting my seat back upright, and by the time we landed I needed help retrieving my carry on. Somehow I made it to the curb and fell into the waiting car. I think I slept 2 or 3 days straight after that. It’s such an awful feeling. Poor flight attendant brought me a couple bottles of water, but there wasn’t much more she could do. I kind of stopped drinking on planes for a while after that…
Sadly I can top them all. Returning from Israel I was infected with an intestinal parasite that I must have picked up from a farmers market in Jerusalem. I felt okay when boarding but by the time we landed the FA asked if I needed a wheelchair. I was pale and ghoulish looking. So,weak I could not search around my seat for my bose headphones. No food for 13 hours. Just sat there for the entire flight and forced down a glass or two of ginger ale.
Yes, sort of. Just got back from India where in the last few days got a bug. Had 4 flights to get home and they were all miserable made more tolerable by being able to lay down in lieflats for the two longest flights. I totally sympathize.
Just catching up on news after being offline for couple days. I had a similar experience but it was triggered by bad food on a long haul flight. I will never forget the Japanese dinner at a NWA flight from MSP-NRT and from there I connected to KUL. I would only be in KUL for 2 days for meetings. No need to say I spent the 2 days inside my beautiful room at the Mandarin Oriental going from bed to toilet and being treated by a doctor that the hotel had to call for me. After losing 6lbs and missing my return flight I was able get a return on a CX flight and I was upgraded to first class. All I was able to get from my first class experience was Evian water. 🙁
Sounds terrible! I’m so sorry you got sick.
Oh yes I remember! My Husband Husband and I flew home on a short flight home from Vegas to Portland Oregon, we got home and I couldn’t get warm so I got in a hot tub, not realizing I had a fever, this is gonna be gross, but I wasn’t in the tub 5 minutes and my throw up shot out of me all the way across the room! It was a ANGRY FLU! And uncontrollable diarrhea at the same time all the while still in the tub! It happened fast I had no control! The next day my Husband reminded me of this poor lady sitting by the exit door with a flight attendant, with just a blanket wrapped around her, she looked sick, but whatever it was it was the angriest stomach flu of my life!