Tips for healthy travel

At United, we work hard to get you to your destination safely and on time. We also want to make your travel experience a positive one. These tips will help you relax, enjoy your flight and arrive at your destination with a minimum of stress. If you are concerned about your health while traveling, or have any special health care needs, consult your personal physician for specific advice.

Long-distance travel, exciting as it may be, can also be tiring. Following these tips can reduce the stress and fatigue that may occur with long-distance travel and combat the jet lag that may result from crossing time zones:

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
  • Get a good night's sleep before your trip and rest as much as possible during the flight.
  • While away, get as many hours of sleep every day as you normally would at home. Taking short naps of 30 to 40 minutes will refresh you as you adjust to the new time zone.
  • Drink plenty of water and/or juice before and during the flight to stay hydrated.
  • Eat light meals during your flight. Also avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol.
  • Don't remain in one position too long; perform the simple stretches as seen below and walk when possible.

The facts: Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a condition involving the formation of blood clots in the legs. In susceptible individuals, prolonged periods of immobility (such as travel in a car, train or airplane, or even sitting at your desk) can increase the risk of the formation of clots. If a clot breaks free and travels to the lungs or heart, it can be fatal.

There have been some reports in the news about a relationship between DVT and air travel. Currently, the Aerospace Medical Association advises that science has not established a direct link between DVT and air travel. The World Health Organization has begun a two-year study on this, but currently advises that the risk of developing DVT during travel is very small unless preexisting risk factors exist. Some literature suggests that the exercises shown below, combined with some of the tips above, may decrease the risk of DVT. If you have any concerns about DVT or your susceptibility to it, please consult your doctor.


Ankle circles exercise info-graphic

Ankle circles

Raise your feet off the floor and rotate them in a circular motion. Make five circles in clockwise and counterclockwise directions with each foot.

Foot pumps exercise info-graphic

Foot pumps

With your heels on the floor, raise your toes as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds and lower them to the floor. Then raise your heels while keeping your toes on the floor and hold for several seconds. Repeat 5 times.

Shoulder roll exercise info-graphic

Shoulder roll

While seated, keeping your arms in place, move your shoulders in a circle from front to back 5 times. Repeat in the opposite direction.

Knee to chest stretch exercise info-graphic

Knee to chest stretch

While seated, lean slightly forward and clasp your hands around one knee. Slowly pull your knee toward your chest and hold for 15 seconds. Release and switch to the other leg. Repeat twice.

Shoulder stretch exercise info-graphic

Shoulder stretch

While seated, place your right hand behind your back, on top of your left shoulder. Grasp your right elbow in your left hand and gently stretch your right shoulder toward your left side. Hold for 15 seconds. Switch arms and repeat twice.

Neck roll exercise info-graphic

Neck roll

Relax your shoulders. Stretch your neck toward your left shoulder; hold for a few seconds, slowly roll your head toward your chest and then stretch toward the right shoulder. Hold for several seconds and then reverse, rolling your head from right to left. Repeat three times.

Information for customers with food allergies

See our Customers with Food Allergies page for information about peanut allergies and air travel with United.