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What to Drink During a Flight and Why

Planning on jumping on a plane for a much needed vacation? On the opposite end of the spectrum, have a work-related trip on the calendar coming up…? Either way, knowing what to drink during your flight can have a big impact on how you look and feel once you arrive at your destination.

Ok, let’s get right to it.

The beverages that I wouldn’t recommend drinking while flying and why:

(I apologize in advance!)

– Alcohol
– Coffee
– Caffeinated tea
– Caffeinated soda

Yah, I know. All the fun stuff! But just hear me out…

Reason: All of the above beverages have a dehydrating affect on the body, and since airplane cabins have unnaturally low humidity levels (5% or less), the body is already fighting an uphill battle to stay hydrated.

Here’s why being even slightly dehydrated is a not-so-awesome thing. If you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to:

– Get sick.
– Feel jetlagged.
– Experience headaches.
– Become constipated.
– Feel lethargic.
– Get dry eyes.
– Obtain wrinkles due to dry skin and a loss of elasticity.

Alcohol is definitely the worst of the four offenders listed above (sorry, again!) because besides being a major dehydrator, alcohol in general weakens the immune system, and a weakened immune system is the last thing we need when sitting inches away from other people who are sick. Because as we all know:

Getting sick = No Fun, No Bueno, No Thank You, Game Over.

If you’re dying to get tanked simply because you’re excited to finally start your vacation, do yourself a humungous favor and wait until you get to the hotel before putting yourself in full force “party mode.” (Sorry, times three… don’t mean to be such a Debbie Downer!) Let’s change the subject…

Here are the airplane beverages I give major thumbs up to:

– Water
– Water
– Decaffeinated Tea
– Water
– Sparkling Water
– Regular Water

Water is good. Water is life. Water helps us look better, be healthier, and feel great. Yay, water!

On that note, I’d like to share my own personal plan for staying hydrated while flying that I have followed for many years now:

1. In the car on the way to the airport, drink one 16 oz. bottle of water.

2. Upon check in, kindly ask the airline customer service agent for an aisle seat, if you don’t already have one.

– Side note: When I was 18 years old, I got a job with Hawaiian Airlines as a customer service agent in LAX. (I loved that job!) One of my duties was to check folks in at the ticket counter, tag their bags and provide them with a seat assignment. Because we used big planes that had plenty of middle seats, often times, people asked to change to a different seat. Admittedly, the passengers who smiled and were extra polite won me over the most. I remember going above and beyond for some of them, including gifting free upgrades to first class! (What can I say; I’m a sucker for a genuine smile!) Moral of the story: It never hurts to ask, and if you do ask, be extra super sweet about it. A little charm can go a long way!

Ok, where was I…

3. Once you get past security, I recommend doing the following:

  • Use the restroom, because you’ll probably need to by now!
  • Hit up the magazine/book/snack store and buy the biggest bottle of water that they sell. I know it’s one more thing to carry and it may set you back five bucks, but it’s 100% completely worth it.
  • Bonus step: If your flight is 2+ hours long, look at your surrounding food options. If there’s a restaurant that offers a good, satisfying yet healthy meal, seize the moment by ordering something to take on the plane with you. Goodness knows the pretzels offered on the flight will leave you feeling unsatisfied and eventually “hangry,” which is never a good way to be!
  • Once you board the plane, commit to drinking roughly 8 oz. of water per hour that you’re in the air. Dying for a caffeinated beverage? Go for it, but then double fist it with an extra 8 oz. of water. Sounds like a bit much, I know, but let the fear of getting sick, wrinkled or jetlagged be your big motivator to stick to the plan. If you’re sick of water by the two-hour mark, ask the flight attendant for a decaffeinated tea such as chamomile. This will satisfy your water requirement for that next hour all while adding a little flavor to the mix.
  • Lastly, mentally prepare yourself for the reality of the situation: You will be getting up to use the restroom during the flight. No biggie, though – it’s all worth it! Hopefully you scored that aisle seat upon check in to make that whole process easier. Getting up during a flight is a good thing to do, anyway, since blood tends to pool in our feet and legs while sitting on a plane, which leads to swelling. A stroll to the lavatory and back is just what you need to get that blood flowing and circulating again.

Here’s to a future filled with happy and hydrated flying!




Filed under: Healthy Living


Larry Colombo

you are a saint. Thanks for the advice. I know this will come in handy.


Kenna Durham

Thank you for the information. .. now to convince my husband to take a vacation is a whole other story! Lol


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