How to Handle a Migraine Mid-Flight

Michelle Lee-Ann
5 min readSep 5
Photo by Leonardo Yip on Unsplash

I’m not a medical professional, just a migraineur who has suffered through the agonizing feeling of getting a migraine in an airplane. Always consult a doctor on any medical advice.

Yay, your bags are packed and you’re ready. But, your body has different ideas. This article lists basically lists everything that happens on an airplane and during travel as the general top 10 triggers for migraineurs. Honestly, it’s a miracle anyone feels good after any long-haul flight.

Until very recently, I’ve been lucky enough to make it to my destination feeling dry and tired, but overall fine. While I do usually get a migraine the day after travel (stress, dehydration, not eating at the right times), I don’t usually get one on the flight. It’s so much easier to deal with a migraine when you’re on the ground than it is when you’re mid-flight and I hope none of you sufferers out there ever have to, but here are some of my tips for keeping yourself sane while your brain melts.

Keep yourself hydrated. Keeping hydrated is important for everyone on a flight and it’s doubly important if you’re a migraineur. Keep yourself hydrated! Don’t worry about going into those small bathrooms to pee 30 times in a flight (funny, coming from me, someone who tries not to use those bathrooms if I can help it), just drink the water and lots of it.

Bring a reusable water bottle and have the flight attendants fill it right to the top when they come by with the drink carts; this will make it easier for you to not run out of water on the flight and will cut down on those silly, tiny plastic cups being used. In premium or first class? Drinks come much faster in these cabins, especially alcoholic ones. If you’re drinking during your flight, add a water, or two, in between each adult beverage.

Ask for ice. While you may have packed an ice pack in your carry-on or checked baggage, you can’t really just pop it into the fridge or freezer and grab it when you need during a flight. But, you can totally ask the flight attendant to bring you a bag of ice, or if they’re equipped, an ice pack from the first aid kit. Explain to them that you have a migraine and don’t feel ashamed for using the call button (me, that’s me. I’m the one who feels guilty and ashamed summoning a busy flight attendant): this is what that…

Michelle Lee-Ann

Recently published kid's book author, lover of all things Karl Lagerfeld, Golden Girls enthusiast, and finds happiness in books from Hemingway to Harlequin.