Don’t fly with a Cold! My head nearly exploded on the way to Pisa!

Don’t fly with a Cold! My head nearly exploded on the way to Pisa!

It’s the second time that this has happened – flying with a cold. The first was when we flew to Tallinn in Estonia around 2 years ago.

My partner and I were on our third long distance relationship stretch (he was in York and I was in Oxford – long story!) So I was eager to see him and couldn’t wait for our Easter break in the beautiful Baltic city of Tallinn.

But, I was a teacher at the time, and at the beginning of every main holiday, we were blessed with either a cold or the flu. We would be so run down at the end of a term that this gift from the kids was inevitable.

‘It will be fine’ I told myself. I played it down and soldiered on. By the time we boarded the airport transfer bus from Heathrow’s Radisson Blu, I was on hourly Lockets and was high competition for Rudolf the red-nosed Reindeer.

Was it a shitty flight? Absolutely. One of the worst. I swore I’d never fly with a cold again, So, I did it again yesterday!

I flew with a cold from Manchester to Pisa!

Recently, I decided to no longer be nomadic. Living in the building site of my Liverpool house renovation and adjusting to a life of near-normality as a ‘lone-wolf’ (yep, I got called that!), I survived the challenge of my first month in an exciting digital marketing management job.

The winter germs shared in the office combined with my over-enthusiasm to impress meant that I was primed ready for the viruses to attack, just in time for boarding the Easyjet flight to Pisa!

We set out at around 7.30am to head to Manchester for an 11.20am flight. The fact that we recently bought a car, our lovely little Volkswagen Polo, meant that the journey to the airport was a breeze.

We walked from the car park to Terminal 1. My nose was completely bunged up and I could almost feel my legs seizing up in the cold. Standing outside the lifts to departures, Sy had to run back to check that the car was locked – a minor OCD that I fully support!

Thankfully, we could go straight through airport security, because we went hand luggage only and had checked in online.

Embarrassment at Airport Security

As a seasoned traveller, you’d think I’d be experienced enough going through airport security. In theory, yes. In reality, well….

I see my bag get sent down the column that you don’t want your bag to get sent down. You know, the one that means that the security guard is gonna get your knickers out on display, drugs check your Tampax. I cringed, then breathed a sigh of relief as he pulled out my asthma inhaler. ‘Sorry,’ I apologised, ‘I usually take that out and put it in the see through toiletry bag.’

I looked back at Sy, sheepishly, only to see him still waiting for his bag, that had gone down the column that you don’t want it to go down, because he had a plastic Wolverine toy that came out of a Kinder Egg!

This is the reason why we got held up at #airportsecurity! #wolverine #kinderegg #travel #fail

A photo posted by Globetrotter Guru (@theglobeguru) on


Boarding the flight to Pisa – Flying with a cold was a big mistake!

We boarded the slightly delayed 11.35am plane to Pisa. Seat 4C. Thank God, I thought to myself, I’m in the aisle seat.

As we sit down ready for take-off, I pluck up the courage to look at my nose in my iPhone mirror. The ‘Rudolf nose’ is back – complete with skin peeling.

On the one side is my gorgeous fiance. On the other was a stunning Italian 20-something woman with sickeningly perfect hair and make up. Her boyfriend is lovingly stroking her hair and giving her romantic kisses. Sy is handing me ultra-balm tissues.

The horrendous ear popping starts on take off. When you fly with a cold, the pressure either side of your ear drum can’t equalise so easily. I also have Eustachian tube dysfunction, AKA very small ear tubes! My right ear starts sounding like a deflating balloon that’s been let go to zoom around the room. I blow my nose and the left ear explodes.

By the time we land, I’m around 75% deaf. I’m probably shouting at Sy to hand me my passport. The other side of security, I’m over-joyed to be back in Italy, one of my favourite countries in the world. Sy asked me about the bus. ‘I don’t dow, I don’t feel bewy wew!’ was my reply!

Tips for Flying with a Cold

I don’t recommend that you fly with a cold, particularly if you have underlying health issues. It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor first.

If you cancel a flight due to an illness, make sure that you get a doctors note and inform your insurer according to the policy. If you don’t follow the correct procedure, the may not pay out.

Ear Planes for flying with a cold

However, if you really have to fly with a cold, and don’t want to cancel, here are a few tips…

  • Drink lots of water.
  • Take lots of packets of ultra-balm tissues.
  • Take something to ease your red nose e.g. Vaseline or lip balm (nothing perfumed it will sting)
  • Use a nasal spray to help to unblock your nose, as this will help your ears too.
  • Try ‘Ear Planes‘ – the ear plugs that are designed to help the pressure equalise in your ears.

Don't fly with a cold! Sudafed blocked nose spray

You might also like to read about airport anxiety.

Amy Trumpeter

Hi, I'm Amy and I love solo backpacking. I've been travelling on and off for over 20 years and spent time as a digital nomad. My writing focuses on Asia, Europe and North Africa. I travel with chronic illness and don't let it hold me back! I'm here to help you to earn money online and travel the world!

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