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Drunk on a Plane?

Drunk on a Plane?

blog , Laurita Winery , Wine Science , Wine Weirdness 🕔January 10, 2018 0 comments

Have you ever kicked back on the plane to enjoy a drink while you zoom toward your destination? Did you notice that you felt the effects a little faster than you might while standing on the ground?

I’m getting drunk on a plane…

Buyin’ drinks for everybody
But the pilot, it’s a party
Got this 737 rocking like a G6

Well, the answer is complicated.

According to Forbes, you don’t actually get more intoxicated on a flight, but it does feel like you do. (So maybe Dierks Bentley is on to something after all.)

When you drink alcohol, it has an effect on the red blood cells’ ability to transport oxygen through your bloodstream, leading to oxygen deprivation.

The more alcohol in your system, the more pronounced the effect. At the extreme it can also result in feelings of euphoria, poor judgement, uncontrollable anger and confusion. Sound familiar?

So if oxygen deprivation and intoxication have the same symptoms, it’s not surprising that a combination of altitude and booze enhances the effect. You feel more drunk… but you’re not. Also, you’ll recover at your regular rate.

The rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, or subsequently metabolized, is independent of altitude. You don’t absorb alcohol any faster at 10,000 feet than you do at the beach. You don’t get rid of it any slower either.

Good to know.

And while we’re talking about booze in the clouds, here’s an interesting bit of trivia…

The sparkling wine offered in flight is bottled at a different pressure than bubbly that’s to be consumed on the ground. The problem isn’t the pressurized cabin, but what would happen in a sudden dramatic loss of cabin pressure. Specifically, the bottles would explode!

But really… in a sudden and dramatic loss of cabin pressure we wouldn’t even notice exploding champagne bottles. We’d be too busy downing every mini-bottle we could reach, and hoping to cash in on the alcohol/oxygen deprivation combination before impact.


On my way home I’ll bump this seat right up to first class
So I can drink that cheap champagne out of a real glass
And when we land I’ll call her up and tell her kiss my…
‘Cause hey, I’m drunk on a plane

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