Dehydration also plays a role
People also claim their hangovers, or just general alcohol-induced discomfort, are a lot worse when they fly. But again, this has nothing to do with the altitude, but more with the germs and lack of moisture in the air on planes.
“Feeling sick or hungover, all that nasty stuff, that’s all mostly dehydration,” Dr. Greuner says. “It’s not humidified air in planes, so you’re much more susceptible to dehydration. It’s also all these people breathing off the same oxygen tank, spreading around germs. This is why you’re more likely to get sick. I know it sounds boring, but my advice is always just to drink more water.”
So while it’s still maybe not the best idea to treat a plane like your own personal Bourbon Street, understand you’re no more intoxicated mid-flight than you’d be at the airport bar. You might feel worse, or even a little dizzy, but it’s not because the drinks are “hitting you harder.” Just like alcohol does when you’re sad, angry, or a little bit amorous, the booze is just amplifying your already-crappy condition when flying on an airplane. So maybe hold off after the first time the beverage cart goes by.