The DOs and DON’Ts of Drinking on a Plane

Safely store your carry-on, fasten your seatbelt, and get ready to experience the joys of boozing at cruising altitude. Having a drink on a plane adds a modicum of civility and comfort as you fly 35,000 feet in a metal tube in the sky. And between the extreme recliner in front of you, the armrest hogger next to you and the eardrum-bursting child behind you, at least you can find solace in a hand-delivered mini bottle of whiskey. While you can’t do anything about the people around you, you can at least do your part to adhere to the rules. Here are the dos and don’ts of drinking while flying.

DON’T Try to Put in an Order Before the Flight Attendants Come Around and Ask You
Easy there, greedy Gus. You’ll get your deconstructed Screwdriver when the time comes.

DO Have Your Order Ready When the Cart Reaches You
There are rows of thirsty people in need of Bloody Mary mix and ice-free Diet Coke behind you. Hurry up and pick your poison.

DON’T Bring Any Cocktail Gear on the Plane
We get it, you went to Crate & Barrel. But please leave the ergonomic muddler and weighted shaker tin at home. If you must, roll your drink between two plastic cups.

DO BYO Bitters, Garnishes and Syrups
Before you head to the airport, put together a baggie of appropriately sized bottles of bitters and syrups and garnishes that won’t tick off the TSA. Then, once you’re on the plane, unleash your cocktail nerdery and whip up a single-serving Negroni or Old Fashioned.

DON’T Try to Tip Your Flight Attendant
That’s not how things work in the air.

DO Have Your Method of Payment at the Ready
Most airlines accept credit cards and only credit cards. Be ready with yours when the time comes or else be ready to face a plane’s worth of eye rolls and extremely audible sighs.

DON’T Buy a Round for the Pilot and Co-pilot as a “Thank You”
It seems like you don’t really understand how planes work. These men and women need to be stone-cold sober. Did you see Flight?

DO Buy a Round for Your Seatmates (if They Are of Age and Want It)
You’re all essentially sitting on one, big, remarkably uncomfortable couch together, so go ahead and offer to buy your seatmates a drink. They’ll be a lot more willing to let you out of the row and might even be willing to budge a little bit on that armrest.

DON’T Drink Straight out of the Tiny Liquor Bottle Because It Makes You “Feel Like a Giant.”
The flight attendant gave you a plastic cup. Use it.

DO Keep the Tiny Bottles
If you have the room in your carry-on, go ahead and slip your empties into a side pocket. There’s lots of fun ways in which you can recycle them, including DIY salt and pepper shakers and bud vases.

DON’T Get Drunk and Turn Into a Monster
You’re all trapped in a tin can hurtling hundreds of miles an hour above the earth together, so be courteous to your fellow passengers and keep your buzz to a minimum.

DO Marvel at Your Current Situation
You’re drinking a cocktail in a giant metal contraption that is actually flying through the air. Just let that sink in, then quietly toast that mind-bending feat of science.