Should You Drink On Flights? A New Report Has Revealed Alarming Facts About In-Flight Booze

flight alcohol study

Scientists. They keep their finger on the pulse of all things sciencey (this is now a word), vowing to make our world better with their intellectual discoveries. However, a new discovery regarding drinking alcohol on flights may not exactly excite a lot of frequent flyers.

The brainiacs over at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine at the German Aerospace Centre have tested the effects of alcohol and sleep at altitude, or in simple terms, having a little drinky and a nap on a flight. To all those who love a little on-flight bev, I’m sorry to say the results of this test were NOT in your favour.

The aerospace scientists tested the effects of alcohol and sleep at altitude on the human body by getting 40 healthy people to have a bev and then fall asleep in either a laboratory 53 metres above sea level or an altitude chamber (sounds scary AF) that replicates the cruising altitude of a flight, which is 2438 metres above sea level.

They found those who were 2438 metres above sea level had increased heart rate and their blood oxygen saturations hit dangerously low levels thanks to the alcohol they consumed. In layman’s terms: not good. Drink bad.

“The combination of alcohol and in-flight hypobaric hypoxia [low oxygen concentration at high altitudes] reduced sleep quality, challenged the cardiovascular system and led to extended duration of hypoxaemia [low level of oxygen in the blood],” the report read.

“Even in these young and healthy subjects, critical oxygen desaturations below 90 per cent were registered.”

Co-author of the report Dr Eva-Maria Elmenhorst went as far as suggesting individuals shouldn’t drink a drop on a plane at all, especially if they were older.

“The oxygen saturation dropped to quite low levels during sleep,” she told NBC News.

“This is why I would recommend to avoid drinking alcohol even when someone is healthy.”

According to the study, the more alcohol you consume, the more at risk you are of health complications, especially if you are an “older individual” or someone with a “pre-existing medical condition.”

“Our findings strongly suggest that the in-flight consumption of alcoholic beverages should be restricted,” concluded the report.

Well. I guess I won’t be drinking on a flight anymore. Or sleeping. Or reclining my chair. I’ll just die, I guess?