The days of having a few drinks as soon as we board a plane could soon come to an end after reading these lines. What happens to alcohol when we fly? It sure is relaxing at 30,000 feet!
Alcohol causes dehydration, and since humidity is very low inside the passenger cabin, its effect on the body doubles. In addition, the dry air on board, combined with alcohol intake, can increase the risk of respiratory infections. The regulations concerning alcohol, drugs and even caffeine consumption while flying are associated with thrombosis, disorientation, fatigue, jet lag and several other disorders.
Photo: Yuri Arcurs / 123RF Stock Photo.
Alcohol also alters our capacity to react safely in case of an emergency. Its use diminishes the brain´s ability to use the supplemental oxygen aboard, alters cerebral function and impairs judgment. Therefore, during a sudden emergency maneuver, a passenger under the influence could have difficulty following the flight attendant’s instructions (or in this case, “orders”), creating a hazard for him and the rest of the passengers.
To view the regulations stated by the Federal Aviation Administration concerning alcohol, drugs and caffeine, which serve as the international standard on the subject, look for: Alcohol and Flying: A deadly Combination.
The use of alcohol and drugs is strictly prohibited for pilots.
Allowing a passenger that appears to be intoxicated into an airplane is a violation of the Title 14 of the Code of U.S. Federal Regulations (14 CFR). Furthermore, the passenger would be breaching the safety standards of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The crew knows what actions to take, which means that you could pay dearly for that extra drink.
How many times has the passenger sitting next to you boarded the plane with a few extra drinks? When the airlines board an intoxicated passenger, or serve him as many drinks as he is willing to pay, they could be prosecuted for corporate irresponsibility. ■