Should You Drink on a Plane?

With the summer holiday season officially underway, there is often an unwritten rule in the UK that enjoying a cold pint in the early hours of the morning as you wait in the airport is perfectly acceptable, and sometimes this can stretch to having another once you’re on your flight because it’s your holiday.

While there is often nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of wine on board, experts have warned that passengers may not be aware that alcohol effects your body differently when you drink on a plane.

Below Martin Preston, Addiction Specialist, at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere has compiled a list of what happens to the body when drinking alcohol on-board a flight.

What happens to the body when you drink alcohol on a plane?

  1. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream quicker

“If you’ve ever drank an alcoholic beverage aboard a flight, you’ve probably noticed that you begin to feel its effects more strongly and quicker than you would if you were drinking on land.

“The reason for this is not because the alcohol content is higher in drinks on the plane, but that alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream more quickly, as a result of cabin pressure and lower levels of oxygen in your blood. This means that you may feel drunker than you normally would when consuming the same amount of alcohol.”

  1. You can get dehydrated more quickly 

“As well as feeling the effects of alcohol more quickly, drinking alcohol aboard an aircraft can also be dangerous because it can dehydrate you quicker, this is because in an aircraft the air can be extremely dry. When we become dehydrated and it’s coupled with the diuretic effect of alcohol, it can in some cases lead to dizziness, fainting or lethargy.”

  1. It can cause confusion 

“Consuming alcohol on planes can also lead to a sense of confusion or brain fog. Lower levels of air on planes can make us feel groggy and lethargic on its own, as the brain can be sensitive to lack of oxygen. However, when you couple this with alcohol, it can exasperate any problems related to this further, leading to feelings of tiredness, or impaired cognitive abilities.”

  1. It may cause you to act out or engage in dangerous behaviour

“We all know that drinking alcohol has the ability to impair judgement and lower inhibitions, so when we feel its effects more intensely or quickly on a plane, it may cause a person to become loud and disrespectful to crew members and other passengers on the plane.

“Not only that but when inhibitions are lowered we have more trouble staying calm, meaning that drunken behaviour could lead to a confrontation or cause injury/harm to someone else.”

  1. It can disrupt your sleep

“If you’re on a long-haul flight and are hoping to catch up on some rest while on a plane, then it’s best to steer clear of alcohol altogether. 


“Some people may be tempted by the thought of a glass of wine, especially on the flight home from a stressful work trip, as it can relax you, but the type of sleep you get will not be restorative as alcohol often stops us from getting deep REM sleep.”

Images courtesy of unsplash.com and pexels.com

For more Health & Wellness with H&N Magazine

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