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Fainting In Airplane 3 days ago and still dizzy and chest discomfort.
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Fainting In Airplane 3 days ago and still dizzy and chest discomfort.

Hi there,
I took a flight, albeit a long flight a few days ago where I suddenly became ill.First off to mention,I had eaten,drank lots of water,walked around the plane and visited the bathroom all before this happened.And I am a otherwise very healthy woman age 37 with a 9 year old son.It began suddenly with the sweats/intense heat rising up neck and the beginings of blacking out.
Thinking I was going to possibly vomit I stood up to make my way to the rest room. I didnt make it all the way and was apparently caught by an attendant as I slumped to the floor outside the bathroom door.She held me as I came to. But I was out for a couple of minutes.I awoke to a doctor {who happened to be on board} taking my pulse and having cold compresses for my head and neck areas applied.The doc said my pulse was too low at first and recommened I not move for a bit, as they called the hospital on the ground.They then advised I take a test when I get home. I dont remember the name of the test. I was assisted back to my seat after about 15 minutes where I was given the oxygen tank and juice. I felt better after about 40 minutes on the oxygen.
And felt well enough to get on my next short flight. But also needing to get home and my son was with me.
Well long story. Now still 3 days later I am still having dizzy spells,weak shaky moments,waves of nausea,low grade headaches,and most disconcerning a dull discomfort in my chest area. I realize I have jet lag and it was a very scary experience but now I just feel a bit concerned.Also I know I am not pregnant.Thanks for any advice.
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31 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
Sounds like you should have a checkup.  The bloodpreasure is very concerning.  It could be the flu or something else, but doen't sound like you should go without being checked out.
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Avatar_n_tn
i was going to say it was anxiety or a panic attack but I think it is more serious than that.  Please get to a Doc immediately for tests.  Have someone drive you to the Doc because of the dizziness.  Good Luck and keep us posted.
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79258_tn?1190634010
Did you get the test the doctor recommended? If not, that's definitely the place to start. I think you need to see a doctor asap, just to be on the safe side.
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Avatar_n_tn
i was actually thinking panic attack as well. i have had a couple of panic attacks before and feel the effects of it even a couple days later. pair that w. jet lag and perhaps thats why you felt that way. how are things now? i would think you'd be back to yourself but most likely something you should not ignore in light of what happened.
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Avatar_n_tn
If I were you I would got to a hospital and ask for a check up ( I think they have to scan somehow) for a thrombosis.  These can present some time after a change in pressure (flying).  Not meaning to scare or anything, but it will help to put your mind at rest at least!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
This has happened to me 4 or 5 times... you may have "vasovagal syncope" (situational fainting) and it's likely related to the low oxygen on the airplane... I usually get it after I've fallen asleep for a few minutes-- you breathe more shallow when you sleep, so get even less oxygen (and it's low on airplanes to begin with).
I wake up feeling sick, get up, and pass out near the bathroom (never usually actually sick).
The last time, my husband was with me, and while I didn't stand up, he said I was out cold, with my eyes open.
Oxygen, cold compresses, and the test was probably a tilt-table test to try to make you faint, and figure out the exact cause if other than just low oxygen (i.e heart problem, blood sugar, etc).
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Avatar_n_tn
This has happened to me twice. I was glad to see the post by sorenkkg because both of mine happened on night flights while dozing. Woke up clammy and sweating and then started to pass out. Both were on long trips (six hours). The first my sister was with me and nobody else noticed. The second, the flight attendants had to call for a doctor on board and i had to be checked out by EMTs upon landing. Nothing was found to be wrong with me so now i drink electrolyte waters before and during flying and do not sleep!
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Avatar_m_tn
Can't believe that you've described my symptoms exactly. Three night flights in a  row (all long haul)  I have woken from a longish doze , felt burning hot, fainting sensation, little bit nauseous,  and felt the faint coming on - I've tried to stand up but thought better of it and have passed out in my seat - maybe not 100% unconscious - not sure. Then I gradually come round and felt ok within a few minutes - quite scary though - last time I was on my own without my wife so it was worse - I didn;t even inform the cabin attendant - to embarrassed. I have flown over a hundred times before with no issue but three events in a row has made me worried.
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Avatar_m_tn
I had a similar situation. I am 33 now and it started recently. Once on a long duration flight from US to Frankfurt, and second time on a 2 hour flight from New Delhi to Mumbai. On both occasions, before boarding the flight i had an extremely hectic work schedule,wrapped up work, did last minute packing, anxiously reached the airport, again felt anxious till the point i crossed the security check and immigration check. Waited for the flight, boarded it, after some time they started serving beverages. I had a Reisling with some fish crackers and the dinner. Tried to sleep and suddenly felt uncomfortable and could not get myself to get a good sleep. Started sweating, so i took of my shoes and put on my flight socks just to ease things up.It did not work, i started sweating more and felt restless and vomitish...Got up and started walking towards the washroom and blacked out falling on my face. Didnt know when i came around but the cabin crew on Lufthansa were extremely good and took great care of me. I didnt get myself checked after i reached my final destination, however after 4 months same thing happened on a short flight from Delhi to Mumbai in India. In mumbai a doctor came and checked me up and advised immediate hospitalization. I went to a hospital and they also immediately hospitalized me. They took a couple of tests including MRI, EEG, ECG, Blood Sugar Level and other blood samples for tests. MRI came out normal, first ECG had minor variations, so I took another ECG which had similar variations. EEG result is not out yet. I have been advised to get a Holter Test done along with an ECO. The doc wants to rule out any heart problems,so lets see what happens once i get a holter and eco done. While I am at it, i will also get a Lipid profile test done. Lets see what happens.
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Avatar_n_tn
The last 4 comments reflect my experiences.  Twice in three years, both on 7 hour flights, I have fainted.  Most recently yesterday.  Woke from less than an hour's sleep; felt warm, vision faded a bit and somewhat lightheaded.  Signaled the crew for water and by the time they returned I had passed out.  

As above they found me passed out, eyes open, having thrown-up.  Very attentive crew members helped me recover.  Moved me to a different part of the plane where the air flow was Much better.

I have read that airlines reduce oxygen flow during night flights (in part to save fuel).  Based only on my two experiences I  wonder whether the flow of air in a section of the cabin can be further diminished by the curtaining used to distinguish multiple classes of service.

On both occasions I had been seated in a small "special members" section, only a few rows deep, with curtains at the front and back.  The boosting of air flow after each incident (changing sections and pilot turning air up last time) helped enormously.
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Avatar_n_tn
I sat next to a pilot recently and asked him about the situation of the oxygen levels. He said the planes are pressurized to 10,000 feet and flying at 30,000 feet. I asked why everyone didn't start to pass out on airplanes and he said maybe we are a group of people with slight sleep apnea and as we start to fall asleep ( in my case) the combination of the lack of oxygen at those levels and the apnea may cause the reaction.
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Avatar_m_tn
I appreciate all of these comments.  I passed out about three years ago two hours in to a four hour flight.  The above descriptions are exactly what I have experienced and continue to experience.  I have flown all of my life without a problem.  I am now 37 and after passing out, every time I need to get on a plane I get nervous.  I thought that my problem was related to panic attack, but the first time it happened I was totally relaxed. The feeling of heat up the neck, tingling in the hands, sweat, increased heart rate came on suddenly.  After the first incident, I get this nearly every time I fly.  I haven't passed out since, but I find that I really have to work to keep my body active during the flight.  I cannot let myself get too relaxed.  If I can keep the air blowing on my face, I feel better.

In a few weeks, I need to fly from Tanzania to Minnesota (total of around 18 hours of flying).  I thought that I should just take a pill to relax me, but now I am concerned that it is caused by something else (like lack of oxygen).  I have been checked with a basic health examination.  Doctors tell me I am very healthy.  I don't know what to do?  I really do not want to pass out again on the plane.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had this same experience 2days ago and that would be the 4th and I learned after the first incidence to demand oxygen from cabin crew as soon as I feel dizzy. Just push that service botton and when the sweet nice lady comes around tell her to get you that bottle of oxygen they have stowed away most of the time.
It makes life a whole lot easier for me and I bet it will for you and something else, AVOID ANY FERMENTED PRODUCTS, anything that may contain alcohol before or while on board.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had this same experience 2days ago and that would be the 4th and I learned after the first incidence to demand oxygen from cabin crew as soon as I feel dizzy. Just push that service botton and when the sweet nice lady comes around tell her to get you that bottle of oxygen they have stowed away most of the time.
It makes life a whole lot easier for me and I bet it will for you and something else, AVOID ANY FERMENTED PRODUCTS, anything that may contain alcohol before or while on board.
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Avatar_m_tn
Very comforting to hear of these experiences as they describe mine exactly.  I have had three episodes of fainting and I am so anxious when I fly that I take Xanex to relax.  After my third episode (last night) I discovered the pattern: I doze off and sleep, and when I awake I am warm, sweating a bit nausious, and my mouth is dry and I feel parched.  Within a few minutes I feel my self blacking out and I am totally conscious of what is happening.  Last night I was even telling myself "NO NO NO not again!"  This time the flight attendant saw it take place and I was out for 30 seconds.  The previous two times my bladder released and it was very embarrassing.  Over the last six months I have flown several times and the two times I have fallen asleep this situation has happened, so I am inclined to believe it has to do with oxygen levels and a subsequent dropping blood pressure which further depletes the oxygen flow to the brain.  But, to be safe, I am going to my cardiologist for a Table Tilt Test.  I am a very healthy 40 year old with good blood pressure but I do get hypoglycemic from time to time.  Thanks everyone for helping me understand why this happens.  It is very traumatic and frightening and losing control like this in public is never fun.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello - fainting on the plane just happened to me yesterday for the 3rd time. I fly very frequently and I am a 28 year old female. In all three cases, the only commonality I can find is the fact that I am asleep. I wake up and immediately feel extremely hot (drenched in sweat), very nauseous and scared. I tried to calm myself down yesterday but it did not work and I knew I was going to faint so I alerted my husband and that's the last thing I remember. He said my eyes rolled back in my head and I was unconscious for about 30 seconds. I was born with a hear condition so I am going to get checked by both a primary care doctor as well as a cardiologist as soon as I can.
This is an extremely scary feeling that I do not want to experience anymore. I would recommend keeping yourself alert and not falling asleep at any time during the flilght. It's hard, but necessary.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello all the above rings so true with me so dont need to go into detail, again it only seems to happen when waking after sleep has happened on long flight back from florida and shorter flight from cyprus,Now holiday in las vegas in may believe its a 13 hour flight no way will i be able to stay awake.Has anyone got any help for this condition ?? is there some sort of medication to take, am planning to go to doctors soon i dread them telling me not to fly, im perfectly healthy, people with heart and lung conditions can still fly without any trouble so there must be something. Any advise would be very appreciated,
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Avatar_n_tn
Well I fainted a couple of months back on a short flight from Bangkok to Delhi...Well to start with Cathay pacific has these strange shell seats, in which a person cant recline the back. Then I did the following mistakes which everyone should avoid:
1) I hadnt had any food or water for like 5-6 hours before the flight
2) We were late for the flight, and just managed to catch it with 5 minutes to go...so a lot of stress
3) Had a fight with one of my friends, lot of shouting.. ....stress again
4) When the food arrived , we ate a lot(we guys had patched up by then), repeated servings etc..
5) We drank a lot of red wine..5 glasses each(we realy had patched up well!!)
6) Our friend in the middle seat was very fat...and leaned over to our seats as well..

I slept after consuming all that Alcohol, after a while I woke up, feeling dizzy and short of breath...was in an awkward position with head dangling in the aisle side...I desperately wanted some air blowing in my face, and some water...got up suddenly, and blacked out right next to the washroom..nest thing I remember is My friends and the cure air hostesses asking me to get up...once up, I was very embarassed...the whole effect of Alcohol was gone..infact I felt fresh!...they made me lie down with legs higher than the head, and was given some ice to put on my forehead...and thanks to me, all three of us got business class seats!..One hour of flight was left, and I remember I felt something major will happen to me...and was desperate to get on the ground to meet my wife and daughter... Well I got back and got my tests done...I have been a healthy guy for the entire 31yrs...and now I was detected with Hypothyroidism and high TriGlycerides...Well I am on medication, and am dreading to go on a flight again...although I have to as my work demands....so I need Help from anybody who can suggest, what I should do to avoid such incidences apart from the above 6 factors. Help shall be realy deeply appreciated
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Avatar_f_tn
I fainted the other night on a flight from Canada to Israel; 7 hours into the flight I got up and walked to the end of the plate (Gally) and fainted. I got hurt on my face, cuts and bruises.  This is the third time that it happend to me on the same airline.  Everytime it happened I felt the need to get up and for some reaon i faint.  Unfortunatley there was no one at the end of the plane to help me but when people heard the big noise they got to me and cleaned up my face.  I went to the hospital did all the tests and evertyhing was fine.  I'm not sure why I fainted as I did not have any alcohol except water.  the other 2 time 7 yrs ago I had wine with the meal.  Any advice can help, please.
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Avatar_f_tn
Same thing just happened to me on a flight from Christchurch to Sydney after waking.  Flight attendents put an oxygen mask on me and within 10 minutes I felt fine.  I am a very frequent traveller.  I'm a healthy 44 year old male.  This is the 1st time it's happened to me.  
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Avatar_m_tn
My Wife (48) has passed out on airplanes on 5 occasions as described in previous postings over a 15 year period.  We have learned to request the oxygen bottle when the symptoms come on.  On one occasion while flying to Cairo, a Neurologist checked her blood pressure and blood sugar level and found all was normal.  On his recommendation, she had an MRI, sleep apnea test and blood work.  No abnormalities found.  We both work for an airline and hear that passengers passing out occurs often.  We feel it could be a form of altitude sickness and prepare by having her drink fluids, take B vitamins and get good rest the day before flying.  Most airlines are allowing use of Potable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs) which is a battery powered device that can be rented but must be pre-arranged to use with the airline and the model listed by the FAA.  We have not felt the need to rent one yet.  We fly once every other Month.
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Avatar_f_tn
i know these comments where posted a while ago but i am so happy to finally found some one who has had the same experiences as me especially the embarrassing part of basically wetting oneself  !! this has happened to me twice both times 2 hours into a long flight and both times within 30 mins of falling asleep i wake feeling nauseous and clammy and knowing i am going to pass out , the first time i was traveling alone and no one really noticed but i did tell the stewardess and she was great giving me a new seat and being very attentive even giving me a pair of legging from her hand luggage to wear for the rest of the flight    , the second time  i was with my husband and it frightened the life out of him as i also had the whole rolling eye thing as well ,he thought i was having a stoke or something , i do faint quite easily and he has seen me faint on a few occasions but never with the eye and wetting bit so it was quite distressing for him , but like most of you after about 10 mins i felt fine just had to wait till my jeans dried out !!! :( which took most of the flight , it does make me worry now about flying but i think i will not sleep and try to do day flights rather then night , and keep the air flow directed right at my face , i also went to the doctors just to check up on the whole blood pressure and heart thing but was told everything was fine but she also had no idea as to why it had happened  
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Avatar_m_tn
I am glad to find this link; the above experiences are similar to mine yesterday.  I am a 60-year-old man in excellent health. I have flown many times over the years without incident. This time, after several long flights, I was on a 4-hr flight. About a half an hour before my plane landed, I passed out on the plane. I had been sleep deprived, had mild intestinal flu  which may have resulted in dehydration, and about an hour into the flight I consumed a glass of Chardonnay wine on the plane but without taking any food at the same time - also I had no food at the previous stop on the ground due to concerns about my waistline. I dozed and woke up and felt hot and almost immediately started to feel nauseous. As others have said, the reduced oxygen levels on any plane flight, plus the shallower breathing during sleep, may well have contributed to what happened. I got up, headed to the back and, "I think I'm going to throw up, can I have a bag for throwing up in." They gave me one, and i turned around and headed for my seat, but passed out on the way. The next thing I knew, about 4-5 people were helping me into my seat, giving me ice, oxygen, taking my pulse and blood pressure, asking if I had health problems (no) or take medications (no again). In the meantime the plane was getting ready to land. I didn't throw up or lose control of my bladder. After the jet landed, paramedics came on board - but all was well and I walked off the plane myself and did not need further medical care. It might be a good idea for the airlines to warn people that these conditions can lead to passing out on a plane.
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Nicelady
I am responding to several other people who experienced dizzy symptoms while flying in an airplane. I am surprised no one has yet mentioned carbon monoxide poisoning or whatever other gas is released from the burning of fossil fuels... sounds like an odorless fume is accidentally being sucked into the plane and even in micro-quantities, might be affecting people on the plane... Check with the airlines on exactly how the filtered air is released into the atmosphere. Not sure about this... just an idea.
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Avatar_f_tn
You may want to wear a neck pillow...these all sound like cases of bad posture of neck during sleep causing restricted blood flow upon standing...or too much alcohol repressing breathing.
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Avatar_m_tn
This just happened to me for the second time in 2 years. Both were on Air France night flights--I pass out and wake up covered in vomit. The second time I woke up light-headed and lurched to the bathroom and felt better immediately with the improved air flow inside. After returning to my seat with an air-sickness bag (though I couldn't make myself vomit in the restroom) the vomiting and fainting happened. My mother complained of an inner ear condition that she said had made her, on rare occasion, lurch around like a drunk, and I wonder if this might contribute. I've learned to travel with a change of clothes, and am relieved to learn I'm not alone. I'm a 66 year old otherwise healthy woman. The oxygen suggestion interests me.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am not sure this issue is really being addressed. It happens to me. When it first came on I had flown without problems previously so it was a shock. I don't pass out but I feel very faint as if about to pass out and my stomach is churning, my mouth filling with water and I feel like I am going to vomit. I go very pale. I have always had low blood pressure but now I am older it isn't as low as it was so I don't know if that is significant. I have asthma but it is very well controlled. I am physically well and reasonably fit for my age (63) as I walk quite a lot and go to the gym.
I had a few of these episodes on return flights then they stopped so I thought I was over it but last year I had another one, again, only on the return flight. Went to Cyprus a week ago and no problems on the way out but on the flight home I had another and I did everything I could to override it but couldn't and the need to get out out of my set is urgent, as I dread passing out and vomiting whilst in my seat! I usually wobble to the toilet and get my head between my knees for a while. On this flight I had another episode as we we were descending but managed it in my seat this time as it wasn't as severe as the first. I felt 'off' all the rest of the flight though and to be honest I've felt a bit 'off' ever since, sort of woolly headed!
I dread these episodes as for one they are embarrassing and for another the feeling is awful. I have tried keeping the blood flow moving in my legs, alcohol or no alcohol makes no difference as I always have alcohol before the flight out and it never happens then! I've tried avoiding coffee; no difference. Whether I have a meal or not before the flight seems to have no effect either.
Thinking of trying flight socks and I don't know what else! My GP said that when it happens I should stay in my set and put my head between my knees. Ha ha! Has she flown economy?! I am a nurse by the way, so know all the prevention ideas but cannot get my head around why it happens only coming home!
If this fainting is so common (the flight attendant told me it is very common) why is no-one trying to find out why / prevent it? It's easy to put it down to alcohol or panic....but that's a cop-out.
If you still have chest discomfort and feel dizzy, get checked out by a doctor as soon as you can though.
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Avatar_m_tn
This happened to me on a flight from Chicago to Rome. I took a unisom to help me sleep on the overnight flight and had one beer an hour before our flight while we waited. A bit in on the flight, the same thing, I woke up from sleeping, I felt sick and hot. I was able to wake my husband up to get some help but my eyes were rolling in the back of my head. I was able to recover with some deep breathing, taking off my sweater, etc. The flight crew told me that never happens (I don't think I believe them!). I don't have any medical conditions, but I do tend to nearly faint if people are telling a gory story or something. On the way home I decided not to sleep, to drink lots of fluids and to just get up a lot to use the bathroom and I was fine. I made sure I kept the air blowing on me and lifted my knees. Obviously I'm a little worried about ever sleeping or going on a long flight, but I think if I stay alert and as active as possible on the flight I'm okay.
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Avatar_m_tn
I just had the exact in-flight fainting episode addressed here! What did you learn? Next week I have an MRI, blood work test, And EEG scheduled after visiting a neurologist first thing when I was back.

I am 25 yr old male, have flown my entire life no problem, and even recently. Then, on a trip to Hawaii this week (after a stressful and sleep deprived few days) i was feeling great, took a nap 6 hours into the flight, started looking for a barf bag, and then fainted in my seat. Everyone said it was because I had an unhealthy previous few days. Then, after a relaxing vacation, 6 hours into my return flight (well nourished, well hydrated, ate well, slept well) i woke up from another nap, felt like my leg fell asleep, felt sick to my stomach, then fainted again. Horrible experiences, and i felt woozy on and off the rest of both of these days.

What have we learned? Should I waste my time with these expensive medical tests? I am really dreading flying again... It seems like the pattern for all of us is:
1) never had a problem
2) fainted randomly after napping
3) sporadically reoccurs
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Avatar_m_tn
I’m a 39 yro heathy men and had the same incident described above in an Air France night flight from Rio to Paris, yesterday. I went to sleep after having the on-board dinner and ONE glass of wine. Later on I woke up dizzy, disoriented, sweating and with that feeling of blacking out. I tried to stay awake but I must have passed out on my seat for a few times before I had the chance to wake up the passenger next to me and leave the seat. On leaving I noticed my pants were wet and thought that some beverage was accidently spilt. However I soon realized it was an involuntary bladder release. I went to the back of it and asked permission to lay down on the floor. I guess the crew thought I was drunk or just bored, because they didn’t seem to care. I felt better after laying down on the cold floor for a few minutes and went to the bathroom to try to clean myself with a blanket. From there I went back to a seat by the corridor. The dizziness returned less than an hour later and instead of trying to fight it I stood up before starting to faint and returned to the back of the plane floor. This time the crew was very attentive and laid me down in a proper place with the head lower than the legs. They took my blood pressure, offered me oxygen and asked me all sort of questions. I didn’t know what was it, but I knew I would be OK for as long as I laying on the floor. I felt better when the plane started to descent and went back to the seat.  I have fainted before, but never on a plane. Thanks to the comments on this post now I’m sure it was due to low oxygen supply. As a regular economy class passenger, I’m concerned if there is indeed an oxygen supply segregation according to the seat classes of plane sections. This is mean!
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Avatar_m_tn
Gabriel, are you going to see a doctor? This forum has been very helpful for me. That is interesting, a difference between class and oxygen levels? But why did we all faint and it seems 99.9% of healthy individuals have plenty of oxygen and never pass out. I too lost control of my bladder, making  the uncomfortable situation immeasurably worse.

Has anyone found this to go away by not letting yourself fall asleep, or is there anyone with a similar episode that was not sleeping?
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