Take an SQ girl's word for it if she says that the time of the month can be tricky when she's on the job.
The form-fitting kebaya uniform isn't exactly the most comfortable outfit when you are feeling bloated. And if your stomach is cramping up? Well, good luck because you still have to be on your feet and serve passengers.
Even as a passenger, having your period on a flight might be the last thing that you want, so how do SQ girls take it in their stride every month?
Here are seven tips and tricks that you can learn from SQ girls on how to handle your period on a flight.
1. AVOID OR CUT DOWN ON FOOD AND DRINKS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL BLOATED
SQ girls have to wear their figure-hugging kebaya uniforms even if they are feeling uncomfortable.
To minimise discomfort, they avoid fizzy drinks because it will make them feel bloated. Instead, they drink water at regular intervals to make sure that they are hydrated throughout the flight.
Drinking hot tea also can make you feel more comfortable and you can bring your own tea bags on-board such as chamomile tea, which can help soothe bloating and cramps.
You should also avoid alcohol and resist eating too many of the common airplane snacks that are high in salt content such as salted nuts or potato chips.
2. PACK EXTRA UNDERWEAR AND CLOTHES IN YOUR HAND-CARRY
There is always an extra set of uniform in any SQ girl’s cabin bag so that they can change immediately if their uniform gets stained or torn during the course of the flight.
If you are flying while you are on your period, bring along extra underwear and clothing with you on-board the plane. In the event that you accidentally stain your clothes, you can change out of them and scrub the stained items right away.
Keep a Ziploc bag or plastic bag in your hand-carry too so that you can put any wet items in it. You can place the Ziploc bag in a sickness bag (the paperbag you puke in if you have motion sickness) to keep it separate from the rest of your belongings.
It is also a good idea to wear dark-coloured clothing so that any stains won’t show up too obviously.
3. DON'T STAY SEATED THROUGHOUT THE FLIGHT
One of the things that you don’t want to do while menstruating on a flight is to stay put on your seat for a long period of time and not realise that your sanitary pad is completely saturated.
Also, if you are experiencing body aches, it is good for you to get out of your seat, walk around a little and do some light stretching to soothe the pain.
SQ girls are usually on their feet when they are working and move around a lot but as a passenger, you can keep active by making regular trips to the bathroom to monitor your menstrual flow and change your pads when necessary.
If you are drinking a lot of water, you would also need to visit the toilet frequently anyway. Try to get an aisle seat so that you don’t have to feel bad about disturbing the person next to you whenever you need to use the bathroom.
4. PACK EXTRA SUPPLIES
There is a saying that goes “less is more” but in this situation, we say the more the merrier.
You never know how often you might need to change your pads or tampons so be kiasu and pack more so that there will be lower risk of you running out of supplies if you happen to have a flow that’s heavier than usual.
Put them together in a pouch so that you can just grab it whenever you visit the bathroom.
If you really don’t have enough supplies or if your period arrived unexpectedly, check the bathroom to see if there are complimentary sanitary pads or ask the cabin crew.
You can also pack extra items like hand cream and hand sanitiser since you will probably need to wash your hands often.
You might also want to pack wet wipes so that it’s easier to clean up if things get messy.
5. PACK MEDICATION
If you are prone to having bad menstrual cramps, don’t forget to bring painkillers along on the flight. They will also come in handy if you experience body aches and headaches as your discomfort might increase on a plane.
If you forget, you can always ask the cabin crew for painkillers, but it is always better to have your own medication that works for you.
6. PACK PORTABLE HEATING ITEMS
Place it on your tummy to soothe cramps and ease any feelings of being bloated, or on your lower back to alleviate any back pain. You can ask the cabin crew to fill it up with hot water at any time during the flight.
Other alternatives include stick-on heating pads or hand warmers.
7. BRING TRAVEL-SIZED PERFUME
Most SQ girls will keep a small bottle of perfume in their handbag as they not only have to make sure that their hair and make-up stay impeccable during a flight, but they also have to keep smelling fresh especially since they are doing a lot of physical work.
If you are worried about having any strong smells and odour even if you were fastidious about cleaning yourself, spraying on some perfume might put your mind at ease and help you to smell good and feel good.
This article was first published in CLEO Singapore.