Floozing, drinking heavily while flying. – Daily Mail, UK
“Floozing” is pretty common. Most of us like a drink on board to take the edge off and never run into difficulty. But what are the hidden dangers of overdoing it when it comes to alcohol and air travel? Friendly Nomad investigates.
Dehydration, fatigue and illness
Floozing at high altitude can have a range of physiological impacts on the body. Drinking results in dehydration, which can leave you with dry eyes, a headache and a feeling of irritation.
These factors are exacerbated at high altitudes. Cabin air, for example, has up to 50% less humidity than air at sea level, meaning your body may lose water faster than usual.
Putting your body through the additional work of metabolising your drinks, only adds to your risk of dehydration (your liver needs water to breakdown alcohol).
Some say the combination of food and alcohol on long haul flights aggravates bloating and general fatigue.
Either way, drinking heavily will have you feeling shaky upon arrival.
There is some evidence to suggest that dry eyes and sinuses leave you prone to infection by airborne nasties, something to bear in mind.
Less is more
You may not realise it, but a combination of factors mean that “less is more” when it comes to your drinks on board.
Your usual four or five drinks could have you all over the place, even if you can usually handle the booze.
It is clear that a combination of physiological pressures common to air travel – stress, emotional anxiety, medication, not enough food, dehydration, etc. – all have an impact on consumption and the effect of that consumption upon your body.
Basically, this means you’re probably gagging for a drink and knock what you get down pretty quickly.
Many also say they feel more tipsy after just a few drinks when in the air.
While altitude doesn’t make your blood alcohol rise faster, it’s pretty obvious you can lose track quickly and find yourself more affected than usual.
Also, did you have one or two at the airport bar that you forgot to count?
Most people drink to get to sleep on planes. The problem with numbing yourself to the discomfort is you can also cut out your body’s legitimate warning signals.
Quite often people will sleep in an odd position, perhaps placing their neck or back at an unnatural angle to get through an economy class flight.
If you’re drunk, you can do this for longer periods and inadvertently cause significant soft tissue damage.
Many people find they stretch a ligament, causing ongoing pain for days or weeks afterwards.
The best bet is to limit intake and get a good quality travel pillow.
(Dumb) shit happens more
If you’re like us, shit goes sideways hugely often when you’ve had a few drinks.
This can cause particular havoc on planes and at airports.
Dropped your boarding pass, left your passport on the plane, didn’t put your belt back on after security?
Flying is a precision activity and a drunken lapse can delay you, at the very least, or leave you picking up the pieces for a lot longer.
Airlines are particularly unforgiving if you miss your connection due to carelessness.
And, yeah, the seventh pint in the airport bar is probably carelessness, if even if you really didn’t hear all those name checks over the PA.
Airlines and airport police aren’t super cool about drunkenness.
Sure, if you pass out and wake up a little dazed, nobody’s going to mind. Rise to the party, however, like you might in a club or just go on a bender and be a real pain – and you’re going to know about it.
Things escalate pretty quickly and even minor disobedience can land you in hot water.
Kate Moss, who was ejected from an Easyjet flight in 2015 after knocking back her own vodka and whinging about a sandwich, knows this only too well.
Crews can deny you boarding on your next flight, restrain you (handcuffs are standard on airliners) or hand you over to airport police upon landing.
In some cases, you could be prosecuted and placed on an airline “no fly” list.
All hassle you really don’t need.
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