How to Handle Sudden Altitude Drop in an Airplane?

How to Handle Sudden Altitude Drop in an Airplane?


Sudden Altitude Drop in an Airplane: A Guide for Passengers

What to Do if the Cabin Pressure Drops

Sudden altitude drops in airplanes can be a frightening experience, but knowing what to do can help you stay safe and calm. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Stay Seated with Your Seatbelt Fastened

When the cabin pressure drops, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Put on your mask immediately and breathe normally. Keep your seatbelt fastened throughout the incident.

2. Cover Your Mouth and Nose

If oxygen masks are not available, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth or piece of clothing. This will help you breathe cleaner air and avoid inhaling harmful fumes.

3. Clear Your Ears

The sudden change in pressure can cause your ears to pop or become clogged. To clear them, try swallowing, yawning, or gently blowing your nose while pinching your nostrils shut.

4. If You Feel Faint, Lower Your Head

If you start to feel faint, lower your head between your knees. This will help blood flow to your brain and prevent you from passing out.

5. Remain Calm and Follow Instructions

It’s important to stay calm and follow the instructions of the flight attendants. They are trained to handle these situations and will guide you through the process.

Causes of Sudden Altitude Drops

Sudden altitude drops can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

1. Pressurization System Malfunction

The pressurization system in an airplane maintains a comfortable cabin pressure for passengers and crew. If this system malfunctions, the cabin pressure can drop rapidly, leading to altitude sickness.

2. Rapid Ascent or Descent

A rapid ascent or descent can also cause a sudden change in cabin pressure. This can happen during maneuvers such as takeoff, landing, or turbulence.

3. Structural Issue

In rare cases, a sudden altitude drop can be caused by a structural issue, such as a cracked window or a damaged fuselage.

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness

If you experience a sudden altitude drop, you may experience symptoms of altitude sickness, such as:

- Headache
- Nausea
- Vomiting
- Dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Ear pain
- Nosebleeds

Preventing Altitude Sickness

There are a few things you can do to prevent altitude sickness before flying, including:

  • Acclimatize yourself to higher altitudes gradually.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine before and during your flight.
  • Chew gum or suck on hard candy to help clear your ears.


Sudden altitude drops in airplanes can be unnerving, but knowing what to do can help you stay safe and calm. By following the steps outlined above, you can increase your chances of a safe and comfortable flight.


By Deepika

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