Tips for Flying with Sickle Cell


So to all my darling warriors that are fretting about their first long trip in a plane…here a a few tips to keep in mind.

Layovers: Do you have a layover? If not, make sure that you stretch your legs periodically to prevent leg cramps. When booking, I always recommend at least one layover for sickle cell warriors. Remember, high altitudes=less oxygen concentration=the possibility of a crises. So heading to the ground for even 20 minutes and getting some normal atmospheric air and pressure helps immensely.

Stretch: I usually walk 5-10 minutes for every hour of my flight, from one side of the plane to the other. This helps to reduce the possibility of getting clots or your legs cramping up. If it’s a short flight (less than 2 hours), you might be okay, but anything longer than that…stretching is the key.

Accessibility: Have your pain meds easily accesibile in case you need them. It’s very frustrating trying to direct a flight attendant where your pain meds are as you are writhing about in pain. Pack your pain meds in your purse or laptop. Have them with you at all times.

Hydrate: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You can never have too much water. Skip the caffenated drinks and alcohol, both of them are known to dehydrate you.

Snacks: Some flights don’t feed you at all, and it’s always good to have something in your stomach before you take some pain medication. That way you won’t have to fight nausea on top of everything else.

Oxygen: Make sure that your airline has onboard oxygen, they usually do for emergencies, but sometimes, esp if it’s a long flight, it’s nice to know ahead of time if they have it.

Read my tale of flying here. I must say I learned my lesson after that.


  1. I just kinda stumbled on this blog whiles surf the internet and i'm so glad i did. I love your attitude and being a sickle cell ….warrior i can say this is an inspiration to many. I am a Ghanaian woman in my mid twenties and i have never travelled outside my country before mainly due to the fear of getting sick once i'm outside my comfort zone. I've come to a point where i have to travel if i want to pursue my dreams in my career. My problem is i'm not sure the country (China) i intend to go to is safe for me with regards to the sickle cell. I'm concerned with the weather and how to handle the really cold times. i'm practically gripped with fear at the thought of this. I also wonder if their health system is conversant with the condition of sickle cell. Do you know if there are some 'no go' countries for sickle cell warriors?

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