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Heavy drinking on flights

Heavy drinking on flights

Old Dec 6, 13, 12:14 pm
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Heavy drinking on flights

I'm just curious, as I drink very little and almost never when I fly.

Why is drinking such a part of the flying culture? I see that it's often discussed here on FT and there's unhappiness when it's not comped, etc.

Earlier this week, on a 9.5 hour flight from HEL-JFK, the fellow across the aisle from me had non-stop drinks from the time we boarded until we landed. Many bottles of vodka, beeer, etc.

I always thought one was supposed to stay hydrated on a flight and alcohol is a diuretic, no? Just seems a bit contradictory since FT'ers are expert flyers who do what they can to stay comfortable and in good condition on long flights.

Not a value judgment, just curious what people's take are on the drinking part. Is to calm nerves? Part of the inherent culture/experience of flying?
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Old Dec 6, 13, 12:32 pm
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If I manage to score an upgrade on a long domestic flight I'll often drink three or four beers (while watching a movie or two) as we cross the continent.

I think for me it comes down to the fact that with two little kids and a very busy life I wouldn't get any other chance to do this sort of thing.

It's not like I can sit in my armchair at home for four hours, watching movies and drinking beer, so I take advantage of it when I'm flying.

If I'm in economy, forget it. The beers are either $6 - $8 each, or, if free, you can't ever get the surly FAs to stop by with a refill.
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Old Dec 6, 13, 12:39 pm
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What else is there to do? Drinking makes everything more betterer.
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Old Dec 6, 13, 12:43 pm
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I don't drink 'heavily' on flights (maximum 3 drinks), but drinking does help me relax after the somewhat stressful airport experience. As for heavily drinking - I don't know - because it is free?
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Old Dec 6, 13, 12:44 pm
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You will start drinking as soon as you see who you have to travel with! :P

As for me I am with gglave, relaxing with a few beer/drinks away from home is nice. Maybe it's a Canadian thing?
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Old Dec 6, 13, 12:47 pm
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I think there are a few factors at play:
* If alcoholic beverages are "free," then the passenger is getting something with a known value, and may see this as essentially discounting the cost of his or her airfare. (I put "free" in quotes, because, of course, you're paying for the beverage in the cost of your ticket.)

* Many people do get stressed while flying and alcohol calms their nerves.

* Many people drink to unwind once they're done working, have put the kids to bed, etc. Time spent flying is down time, and they're having a drink just as they would if they were at home.

* For some, a plane trip is a celebratory occasion, and as with many kinds of celebrations, it's commemorated with a drink.
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Old Dec 6, 13, 12:54 pm
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Originally Posted by OskiBear View Post
I'm just curious, as I drink very little and almost never when I fly.

Why is drinking such a part of the flying culture? I see that it's often discussed here on FT and there's unhappiness when it's not comped, etc.

Earlier this week, on a 9.5 hour flight from HEL-JFK, the fellow across the aisle from me had non-stop drinks from the time we boarded until we landed. Many bottles of vodka, beeer, etc.

I always thought one was supposed to stay hydrated on a flight and alcohol is a diuretic, no? Just seems a bit contradictory since FT'ers are expert flyers who do what they can to stay comfortable and in good condition on long flights.

Not a value judgment, just curious what people's take are on the drinking part. Is to calm nerves? Part of the inherent culture/experience of flying?
If these drinkers were Finnish males, then this is perfectly normal (for them!). Never, ever, try to out-drink a Finn.
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Old Dec 6, 13, 1:01 pm
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Also if traveling int'l F, you can sample different fine wines / champagnes. 30 minutes to landing and you want some Krug, the crew will be happy to pop open a new bottle for you even if you only take a few sips. At home would you open a $150 bottle of champagne knowing you'd only have one glass and toss the rest?
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Old Dec 6, 13, 1:07 pm
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When DL carried Glenlivet single malt, there was nothing better to me (when I scored an upgrade) than settling into my favorite FC seat and relaxing with a few drinks when I knew my wife was picking me up at the airport when I arrived. A PDB, then another double or two, then dinner, then a few hours of sleep onboard. Of course now that they don't carry Glenlivet anymore I'll have to make do with something else, but those were some enjoyable flights!
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Old Dec 6, 13, 1:16 pm
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As a Finn, I was about to make this exact comment but you beat me to it! To the OP: I enjoy having a number of drinks in almost any circumstance, outside of work, when I'm on the ground. So I just keep with my usual consumption levels when in the air. I'll drink water, too, and haven't really ever felt a dehydration issue.

Originally Posted by timfountain View Post
If these drinkers were Finnish males, then this is perfectly normal (for them!). Never, ever, try to out-drink a Finn.
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Old Dec 6, 13, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by greathustle View Post
As a Finn, I was about to make this exact comment but you beat me to it! To the OP: I enjoy having a number of drinks in almost any circumstance, outside of work, when I'm on the ground. So I just keep with my usual consumption levels when in the air. I'll drink water, too, and haven't really ever felt a dehydration issue.
This fellow had you beat. He was working away on his laptop the entire time as well
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Old Dec 6, 13, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by OskiBear View Post
This fellow had you beat. He was working away on his laptop the entire time as well
Correction: He was USING his laptop.
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Old Dec 6, 13, 1:34 pm
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Speaking for myself, I enjoy having a couple drinks on a plane - I'm usually flying for fun these days, so drinking on a plane is kind of acknowledging that I'm on vacation or going somewhere fun.

When I traveled for work, it was a calmative after a week of long hours and being away from home.

I've found that, in general, the farther north and east one goes in Europe, the less advisable it is to try to outdrink the population.
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Old Dec 6, 13, 2:24 pm
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There are 3 major reasons:
- it is free
- you have time
- your wife isn't watching you
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Old Dec 6, 13, 2:26 pm
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A few drinks help me relax. As long as they aren't beer. Beer + pressure change = gas + stomach discomfort.
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