The Savvy Traveler: Ways to Avoid Blood Clots While Flying

The Savvy Traveler: Ways to Avoid Blood Clots While Flying

A blood clot is a serious condition that can be caused from flights over 5 hours in duration, and when the plane reaches 30,000 feet or more. It is also referred to as DVT, or deep vein thrombosis. If you’re worried about getting a blood clot on a long light, or have ever had one, here are some tips to help you avoid getting one on your next flight. Please note only a few of these tips are written in the fine print in in-flight magazines, but some of the international carriers are now starting to include some as part of their in-flight safety instructions.


 Keep your blood thin and drink lots of water

Take baby aspirin daily, as well as a pretty good dose of regular aspirin prior to travel. And I drink lots of water on the plane which prevents the blood from pooling and forming clots. A glass every two hours is pretty standard to keep you hydrated.

Sit in a roomy seat 

If you are flying economy, sit in an aisle seat for the extra legroom. If you are flying any of the other classes, you likely have enough room for your legs and won’t be cramped. However you can check all this out before you fly on Seatguguru.com. Information about leg room, seat pitch, width, and how far back the seat reclines is readily available online. It’s easy enough to learn which plane manufacturers and configurations of aircraft are going to provide you with the room you need prior to booking the flight. Some aircraft configurations and manufacturers provide more leg room than others as well.

Keep moving on the plane

Try to get up and walk around at least every two hours. If you cannot do that, stretch your legs from your seat and move your ankles in each direction. This also keeps the blood flowing and prevents pooling. Constantly drinking water forces you to get up and use the restroom every couple hours, so that can be your friend. Also advise people sitting next to you on an overnight flight not to hesitate to wake you up if they need to exit the row. It’s another way to remind you to move your legs. Never fly with your legs crossed either, as that can constrict blood flow.


Inform the flight crew 

Especially if you have already had a blood clot once, let the flight crew know that you need leg room if you cannot get a satisfactory seat. If you let them know it is because of DVT you might actually get moved to Business Class. But do not do this unless you have really had a DVT. The airlines save seats for people with special medical needs.

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