14 Foods That Are a Bad Idea to Eat on a Flight

Trips and vacations are always exciting, and the thought of getting to our destination fills us with enthusiasm. Traveling in an airplane could be tiring and wreak havoc on your body. Low air pressure and oxygen levels can affect you physically.

Carrying and consuming the right food is essential for a pleasant journey. Certain food items affect our digestive system differently at such heights and low pressure. This blog focuses on 14 items to avoid eating on a flight.

Fried Food

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Fast food can be a craving when flying, but consuming it on a flight could cause serious digestive problems. Since fast food has high trans fat, oil, and often contains sodium, this might result in fluid retention, leading to bloating and swelling during the flight. According to WebMD, they could also trigger heartburn due to their high-fat content.


Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Our mothers have always advised us to eat the beans, but there might be better things to consume on your flight. Beans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, and soybeans are a part of the legume family and should not be consumed in flight. All legumes contain a sugar called oligosaccharide that the human body finds hard to break down completely. It could lead to indigestion and discomfort during the flight.

Carbonated Beverages

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Zipping open a can of soda on a flight might seem refreshing, but it can lead to discomfort. Airplane cabins have lower air pressure compared to the ground. This change in pressure causes existing gas in your digestive system to expand, leading to bloating and cramping. Carbonated drinks add even more gas to the mix, potentially intensifying these uncomfortable sensations.

Sugar Drinks

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Consuming high-sugar drinks could give momentary relief but can contribute to dehydration in airplane cabins. The fizz in the drinks could get a little out of control at high altitudes, where the lower pressure can cause the carbonation to become more intense. The dehydration can leave you feeling sluggish, ruining your upcoming trip or meeting.

Alcohol Consumption

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Lower cabin pressure means that the body is absorbing oxygen less efficiently. Combining this situation with alcohol consumption could lead to a more substantial intoxication effect, leaving you more tipsy with less amount of alcohol. It also acts as a diuretic that increases your urination, which could make you feel dehydrated and worsen jetlag. Alcohol consumption could also lead to a loss of control over yourself, loudness, and even aggression that could be stressful to you as well as other passengers on the flight.

Cruciferous veggies

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

These veggies contain fibers that are great for digestion. They also include a type of sugar called raffinose, which our human body struggles to break down. Consuming them during the flight journey can cause gas in your intestines to expand further, leading to bloating. It could be embarrassing and bothersome for fellow passengers.

Caffeinated drinks

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

These drinks are diuretics that could lead to increased urine production, leaving you primarily dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, and even dizziness – not ideal for a long flight. Consumption of coffee on an empty stomach can trigger heartburn and even cause stomach cramps. It can also heighten your anxiety, which can be exceptionally bothersome during takeoff or landing. Avoiding them and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the journey is advised.

Chewing Gums

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

It might seem like a handy solution to avoid ear popping during takeoff and landing, but it could cause discomfort during the flight journey. Chewing stimulates swallowing, which can lead you to swallow air unconsciously. This trapped air can cause bloating and gas pains in low-pressure cabins. It also triggers the body’s digestive response, including releasing stomach acid that can lead to heartburn or acid reflux without food intake after chewing. There is also the risk of choking if you swallow the chewing gum accidentally.

Salty Food

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Airplane cabins have a dry environment due to low humidity. Salty food causes your body to lose fluids and feel dehydrated, which could lead to headaches, fatigue, and constipation. During long flight periods, salty food can contribute to bloating, making you uncomfortable. Cabin pressure changes during flights can also cause water retention, worsening this feeling of tightness or puffiness, especially in the ankles and feet.

Tomato Based Products

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Studies suggest cabin air pressure and dryness can reduce your ability to taste by up to 30%. Tomato sauces, known for their umami taste, could lose their punch in flights. Acidic foods like tomato sauce can cause discomfort for some people when seated for long hours, and their aroma could also be unpleasant for fellow passengers.

Large Meals

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Heavy meals contain greasy food that could take longer for the stomach to break down. Being on a flight slows down the breakdown process, making you feel sluggish or nauseous during the journey. These meals are filled with a high sodium content that leads to fuel retention, leaving you uncomfortable in your cramped airplane seat. A heavy meal could also disrupt your sleeping pattern and make you feel jet-lagged during the journey. Therefore, a light meal is advisable to make your travel experience more enjoyable.

Ice Creams and Desserts

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Indulging in desserts is always a fantastic experience, but it can create havoc on your digestion during a flight. Sugary treats further contribute to dehydration, making you feel sluggish and uncomfortable. It can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, leaving you irritable during your flight. Heavy desserts increase your need to use the restroom frequently, which can be inconvenient on a crowded flight.

Processed Meats

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

They are more susceptible to harboring bacteria like listeria that can cause foodborne illness. They are not kept at the proper temperature during storage or transport; bacteria growth can increase due to an unknown time frame between preparation and consumption on a flight. It could lead to sickness on the airplane and cause discomfort during the entire journey.


Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Fruits, especially high-fiber ones like apples and pears, can take longer to digest. It can lead to bloating, gas, or constipation during the flight, making you uncomfortable in the confined airplane seat. Certain fruits like oranges, mangoes, and pineapples are acidic. This acidity and the pressure changes experienced during air travel can leave you feeling sour and uncomfortable.

Scroll to Top