Flying and drinking? Better not.

June 12, 2022 / Topical / Background

Now that summer is approaching, the holidays are getting closer. Maybe you have a plane trip in prospect. During the longer flights you can buy something to drink. A soft drink, a coffee or something alcoholic. A glass of alcohol is a good start to the holiday for some and a way to suppress the flying nerves for others. But what does alcohol do to you at ten kilometers altitude? You read it here.

Because you are at a high altitude, alcohol has a different effect on you than when you literally have both feet on the ground. This has to do with air pressure. When you fly, there is less air pressure and it is more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen. A somewhat dizzy feeling can then be the result. If you've also had a 'gin and tonic-because-it-is-holiday', you may feel more drunk than you really are. This drunken feeling is often reinforced by the lack of a nutritious meal on the plane. There is a good chance that you drink that wine or beer on an empty stomach. And then the alcohol hits you extra hard.

Greater chance of dehydration

Your brain is affected by alcohol in different ways. One of the effects is that alcohol increases the release of the antidiuretic hormone suppressed. This hormone normally causes your kidneys to remove water from your pee and return it to your blood. Now your kidneys don't get this signal, with the result that you have to urinate more often after drinking alcohol. As a result, your body dries out despite drinking. Add to this the fact that the air in an airplane is very dry and at some point your body will lack moisture. Drinking enough water and eating as little salt as possible ensures good hydration. And of course swapping that beer or wine for a drink without alcohol also helps…

Tips for flying comfortably

Carry loose-fitting clothing – tight clothing will tighten if you sit in a certain position for a long time.

drink plenty of water – airplane air is often somewhat dry. Hydrate yourself well.

take bring your own snacks – because the food on planes sometimes leaves something to be desired.

sleep in flight – that's healthy and time passes faster.

take bring your own entertainment on board – download movies, series and podcasts in advance. Or make sure your e-reader is full.

Choose for headphones with noise canceling – so you can really shut yourself off from the sounds around you.






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