Handling Unpleasant Smells on a Flight: How to Address a Fellow Passenger’s Strong Odor

Traveling by air can be a thrilling experience, but it can also be uncomfortable, especially when you have to deal with unpleasant smells. Whether it’s a fellow passenger’s strong body odor or the smell of their food, it can make your journey quite unbearable. So, how do you handle such situations without causing a scene or offending the other person? This article will provide you with some practical tips on how to address a fellow passenger’s strong odor on a flight.

Understanding the Situation

Before you react, it’s important to understand that people come from different cultures and backgrounds. What may seem unpleasant to you might be normal to them. Also, some people may have medical conditions that cause them to emit strong odors. Therefore, it’s crucial to approach the situation with empathy and understanding.

How to Address the Issue

Addressing a fellow passenger’s strong odor can be tricky. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Speak to the Cabin Crew: If the smell is unbearable, you can discreetly inform the cabin crew about it. They are trained to handle such situations and can move you to another seat if one is available.
  • Use a Mask or Scarf: If moving seats is not an option, you can use a mask or scarf to cover your nose. This can help to reduce the intensity of the smell.
  • Use Essential Oils: Carrying a small bottle of essential oil can be a lifesaver in such situations. You can dab a little on your wrist or on a tissue and inhale it to mask the unpleasant smell.
  • Speak to the Passenger: If you feel comfortable doing so, you can politely express your discomfort to the passenger. However, ensure you do this in a respectful and non-confrontational manner.

Preventing Future Incidents

While you can’t control other people’s actions, you can take steps to prevent such incidents in the future. For instance, you can book a seat in advance to ensure you sit next to someone you know. Also, you can carry items like masks, scarfs, or essential oils to help you deal with unpleasant smells.


Dealing with unpleasant smells on a flight can be challenging. However, by understanding the situation, addressing the issue tactfully, and taking preventive measures, you can ensure your journey is as comfortable as possible. Remember, the key is to handle the situation with empathy and respect.