I remember when my brother said that drinking beer on a plane have more "kick" than when in land, so we tried it. It was my first time being on a plane, so I don't know if that's the reason, but I felt the "kick" sooner, and it gave me a worse headache than usual, and that's just one can.

Is this common? Does drinking in a plane make you more intoxicated?

2 Answers 2


The 'kick' you are describing is being caused by a mild altitude sickness. As you can read in these medical guidelines for airline passengers the cabin pressure is contrary to popular belief, not pressurized to sea level pressure:

On most flights the cabin altitude will be between 6,000 and 8,000 ft. (1,828m and 2,438m) even though the aircraft is flying at much higher altitudes. In other words, on most flights, it is as if you are on top of a hill or small mountain. This imposes two stresses on the body: less oxygen; and, expansion of gases in the body cavities.

The reason for feeling drunk more quickly is due to the lack of oxygen presented by the lack of pressure. Lack of oxygen, according to this source, gives rise to the following symptoms and comes to the same conclusion:

There are various symptoms, including dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, drowsiness, weakness, nausea, unsteady gait, and a headache. Sounds familiar, right? Yeah, the symptoms of altitude sickness are a lot like the effects of alcohol intoxication.

Another interesting read can be found here.


I have experienced the following: I can drink vast volumes whilst flying. However, when we come in to land (cabin pressure changes) I got very drunk, very quickly.

I think the cabin pressure is the culprit.

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