Most travellers enjoy a mid-flight tipple.
But new research reveals a worrying truth about the drinking habits of British holiday-makers.
According to data from a travel insurance specialist, over two million have exceeded their weekly alcohol allowance on a single flight, ordering 15 units or more during the journey. But many do so because they’re terrified of flying.
According to data from a travel insurance specialist, over two million have exceeded their weekly alcohol allowance on a single flight, ordering 15 units or more during the journey
NHS Direct advises that adults spread their alcohol consumption over three days and not enjoy more than 14 units during this period.
This equates to 14 single measures of spirits, seven pints of lager or nine small glasses of wine.
But, fueled by the excitement of a foreign jaunt, the majority of sun-seekers throw caution to the wind.
Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of those polled in the study, by Columbus Direct, when asked about flights over the past five years, admitted to drinking more mid-flight than they do on the ground.
Nearly a fifth (17 per cent) have been rendered physically ill, while one in 20 (five per cent) needed help from on-board staff. More than two million had to see a doctor or go to the hospital.
Nearly half of respondents cited nerves as the main reason for their over-indulgence, while others blamed the beverages being free.
Cheers to that? Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of respondents admitted to drinking more mid-flight than they do on the ground
Why Brits consume more alcohol on a plane than they would at home (source: Columbus Direct)
Men are more likely to be guilty of excessive drinking than women, consuming almost double the amount of alcohol in-flight compared to women.
The average male passenger consumed 7.4 units while female passengers drank 4.2 units on their booziest flight in the past five years.
Alison Wild, Head of Travel Insurance at Columbus Direct, said: ‘Jetting off on holiday is both an exciting and sometimes stressful experience and holidaymakers often find alcohol helps them relax and enjoy themselves.
‘However, we urge passengers to drink responsibly by enjoying alcohol in moderation, not only for their own well-being, but for the consideration of other passengers on board. No-one wants the additional stress of their holiday beginning with a hospital visit and being mindful of alcohol consumption during the flight can help avoid this.
‘Travellers should ensure they are covered by a comprehensive travel insurance policy in the event of their health taking a turn for the worse whilst abroad.’
Beyond the health implications, being intoxicated in-flight is illegal and can carry punishment.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has identified disruptive passengers as one of the main reasons for aircraft diversion and highlights that drinking to the point of being disruptive may have safety implications.
Airlines also have a right to refuse boarding or service to passengers classified as disruptive. If your flight is diverted due to someone’s behaviour, the airline may ask that passenger to reimburse the costs, which can be more than £80,000.
Additionally, the punishment can be up to five years in prison and carry other financial penalties.
When it comes to setting an example about mid-flight drinking, the rich and famous don’t always cover themselves in glory.
David Boon, the legendary Australian cricketer, allegedly downed 52 cans of Victoria Bitter on a flight to Heathrow from Sydney, drinking an estimated 89.7 UK units.
In 2006, David Hasselhoff was banned from a British Airways flight from London to LA for being too drunk – despite the fact it was 7am.
In January 2016, reality TV star Blac Chyna got into a drunken spat with cabin crew at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. She was arrested for public intoxication.