Drinks to avoid on a plane

While we’ve reported on the foods you should or shouldn’t eat on a plane or before a flight, we’ve only briefly touched on the beverages you should and shouldn’t drink when flying.

It’s probably no secret that you should drink plenty of water before and during a flight. Not only will it keep you well-hydrated, but it will also stave off the effects of jetlag and keep your immune system working efficiently.

However, there are a few rules about which fluids you should avoid on a plane – some at all costs.

Tap water
Unless you see that bottle opened and the water poured from that bottle, don’t drink the water on planes. And especially don’t fill up your reusable bottle in the airplane bathroom.

Coffee
Do yourself a favour: don’t go near the coffee served on a plane. Even flight attendants steer clear of the hot caffeinated beverage when they fly. You may recall SJ reporting on the hygiene (or lack thereof) of coffee equipment. If not, here’s a refresher: it’s not uncommon for the coffee pot to not be cleaned each day, let alone after each serve. A 2013 report revealed that some airlines were using equipment containing bacteria such as coliform and E.coli. The EPA has also found that around 13 per cent of planes failed contamination testing, with water tanks containing such nasties as Salmonella and insect eggs. So, still want that cup of joe?

Cola
A sure-fire way to become quickly dehydrated is to order any type of liquor mixed with cola. But it still pays to stay away from cola – or any fizzy drink – because at 30,000ft, they become even fizzier and can quickly make you uncomfortably bloated.

Sugary drinks/juice
Your tastebuds crave umami in the air, which is salty, savoury flavour. Sugary drinks and foods will barely register in the air and too much sugar can make you jittery or even cause headaches or migraines. Stick to the savoury stuff (such as a Bloody Mary) and you’ll be okay.

Double shots
A double shot of scotch on the ground may be easily manageable, but up in the air it could quickly put you down. Dehydration mixed with being in a pressurised cabin can often accelerate intoxication and although airlines do their best to simulate ground atmosphere, it’s best not to test the water, so to speak.

Expensive wine
Ordering a $15 glass of wine will, quite honestly, be a waste of money, because you really won’t extract the full benefit of that expensive vino. Your sense of taste and smell will be operating at sub-optimal levels, so go for the cheap stuff – it’ll probably taste the same.

What’s your favourite onboard beverage?

Related articles:
Coffee on a plane? Not after this …
World’s best airport food
How flying affects your body

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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