LIFESTYLE
16/08/2018 12:22 BST | Updated 17/08/2018 08:38 BST

What Really Happens When You Drink Alcohol On A Flight

Two thirds of Brits have encountered drunk and disorderly passengers at airports and on flights, a study has found.

It may not be much of a badge of honour but Brits are well known for getting boozy on hen and stag weekends, and just on regular weekends away and holidays.

Almost two thirds of Britons have encountered drunk and disorderly passengers at airports and on flights, according to a new study by the Institute of Alcohol Studies and the European Alcohol Policy Alliance. Sometimes, that drinking can be disruptive, dangerous, and really unpleasant for other passengers and crew. 

Peter Cade via Getty Images

But for those of us who enjoy a sensible tipple or two on a flight, what does drinking thousands of feet in the air do to your body? Buckle up and we’ll tell you.

Alcohol might dehydrate you more than on the ground.

Waiting to board a flight is probably one of the few occasions when drinking alcohol with your breakfast is socially acceptable. Lots of people have a drink or two to calm their nerves pre-flight, or to celebrate their holiday (or commiserate it ending). 

Whatever the reason, you’ll probably want to take it easy though. The combination of lack of sleep and alcohol followed by dehydration thanks to dry, recycled air and cabin pressure might leave you hungover before you even land. So make sure you drink plenty of water and tuck into that lovely plane food, too.

You might actually get more pissed in mid air. 

“When on a plane, the barometric pressure in the cabin of a plane is lower than it normally is. This decreased pressure means that the body finds it harder to absorb oxygen - this can produce light-headedness or hypoxia. In other words, the lower level of oxygen in your blood means that you may seem more drunk in the air than you would on the ground after consuming the same amount of alcohol,” Dr Clare Morrison, from online doctor MedExpress, told HuffPost UK.

Bear in mind being drunk on a plane is a criminal offence though. A BBC investigation found hundreds of people had been arrested for being drunk during a flight last year. Also, airlines can stop you from boarding the plane and refuse to serve you on board if they think you are intoxicated. 

And feel more sleepy.

The lack of oxygen also makes you feel more tired, and according to Drink Aware, drinking can make you nod off more easily. 

However, even just a couple of drinks can affect the quality of your sleep because you spend less time in this deep sleep and more time than usual in the less restful, Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep, it says.

Being exhausted and dehydrated plus feeling jet lagged could leave you feeling a big groggy.