Best Drinks to Order on a Plane

Thousands of feet above the ground, the air does not have enough moisture. It’s for this reason exactly why a long-haul flight can leave you dehydrated.

One of the warning signs of dehydration is throat dryness. Low airline cabin temperatures and anxiety due to flying can contribute to the drying up of the throat.

This is why it is of utmost importance for you to regularly drink fluids while spending several hours on a plane. Doing so can help to relieve throat dryness as well as dehydration and its various symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, exhaustion, drowsiness, and dry skin.

So what are the best drinks to order on a plane? Leading the list is water. To be more specific, it has to be the bottled kind — we will discuss the reason why later on in the article. You may also opt for coffee or tea to feel refreshed, too. Ordering alcoholic drinks come with some benefits as well, but they should be taken in moderation.

Most airlines these days allow their passengers to order a wide variety of beverages. In fact, most of those drinks are offered free of charge, including alcoholic types such as cocktails.

However, just because they can be ordered on a plane doesn’t mean that you should get your hands on all of them.

Especially if you are a health-conscious person and you would like for your air travel to go as smoothly as possible, there are beverages that you should consume, and there are also those that you should try to stay away from.

Keep on reading this article if you would like to know which ones you should consider having and which ones you should take in moderation only or even avoid completely.

Follow the many tips you will encounter below, and you can rest assured that your flight will be as pleasurable as possible!

Just Like What They Say, Water is Life

Perhaps you have read or heard time and again that without water, life cannot exist. It’s for this reason exactly why health experts say that we should consume about 2 liters or eight glasses of water a day.

Water is Life

If you tend to travel a lot by plane, then you should be aware by now that taking long-haul flights most especially can drain the life out of you. So, in other words, it can leave you feeling weak and exhausted.

There are actually many different reasons why flying can leave you drained:

  • Having your dream vacation can be exciting and at the same time tiring
  • Going on a business trip usually triggers stress and anxiety, both of which can wear you out
  • Packing and heading to the airport can use up lots of your energy
  • Conditions on a plane such as cramped seats and smelly and noisy passengers can be taxing
  • Lack of physical activity for several hours on a plane can cause physical and mental fatigue
  • Being bored to death can actually leave you feeling tired and weary

And then there is also dehydration, which is something that can definitely make a long-haul flight a traumatic experience. Earlier, we mentioned some of the common symptoms of being dehydrated.

Even if you are not sweating a lot while seated on an airplane, it is still very much possible for you to wind up dehydrated.

Did you know that you are actually losing water each time you exhale? Of course, everyone knows that we lose water whenever we go to a bathroom.

Failure to drink plenty of water while flying can certainly lead to dehydration.

Other than encountering the various unfavorable symptoms of dehydration, not having enough water can, in fact, worsen a jet lag!

Needless to say, it’s a wonderful idea for you to order water on a plane and drink it, too. However, there is something very important that you should know about this matter, so don’t stop reading now!

Drink Water Only If It Comes in a Sealed Bottle

Just because water helps to fend off dehydration, whether flying or not, doesn’t mean right away that you should drink any water that is being offered to you.

Here’s one crucial thing that you should always bear in mind: when asking the flight attendant for water, make it clear that you want the kind that’s bottled.

There is a reason why it’s not considered a good idea for you to drink tap water on a plane.

Are you aware of the fact that airline companies rarely get the tanks that store the water supply of their planes from getting cleaned?

Well, they have those tanks cleaned but not as often as necessary. Because of this, it is very much likely for bacteria to multiply uncontrollably, thus affecting the quality of the water.

Everyone knows that it’s a terrible idea to consume dirty water as it will surely lead to all kinds of problems.

Here are some of the things that may happen to you if you drink water on a plane that’s laden with bacteria:

  • Difficulty with relaxing or even going to sleep as a result of a nasty stomach ache
  • Constantly asking the flight attendant for a sickness bag due to feeling queasy
  • Offending other passengers as your belly is rumbling loudly and releasing gas
  • Heading to the plane lavatory often because of a bad case of diarrhea
  • Winding up dehydrated due to losing lots of water from having diarrhea and vomiting, too

Especially if you are traveling economy class where it is cramped and noisy, drinking dirty water can definitely make the entire experience a more unfortunate one.

Whether you are on your way to your dream city or already on your way home, it’s a terrible idea for you to consume bacteria-containing water.

When ordering water on a plane, see to it that you inform the flight attendant politely that you want nothing but the kind that comes in a bottle.

And just before you take a sip of it, check that the bottle is sealed — you don’t want to be given something that looks like it is bottled when, in fact, the content is just from the tank of the airplane!

Is there a brand of bottled water that you prefer because your digestive system is very picky?

Then see to it that once you are past the security checkpoint at the airport, purchase your choice of bottled water. It is very much possible that such a brand may not be the one that’s available on the airplane.

Here’s One More Reason to Drink Plenty of Water

Do you need to cross several time zones to get to your destination on a plane?

Then you should gear up for a problem that tends to bug people who travel far from their respective hometowns, and it’s none other than a jet lag.

Also, sometimes referred to as time zone change syndrome, a jet lag is a disruption in your sleep-wake cycle when you cross multiple time zones rapidly, usually because of flying.

There are different remedies available for jet lag, and you can easily find them on the web. So before you fly or grumble because of the presence of it, worry not as there are many things that you may try to deal with it.

Some of the tips for a jet lag that you may come across online can work like magic, while others may not yield any favorable result at all. Because different people react differently to home remedies, it is certainly a wonderful idea for you to give an assortment of solutions for a jet lag a try.

Especially if you tend to fly a lot from one city or country to the next, keep in mind the remedies that never fail to impress when it comes to battling a jet lag.

Even something as simple as keeping your body adequately hydrated is usually more than enough to get rid of the many unfavorable symptoms of a jet lag, including but not limited to:

  • Difficulty with falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Extreme drowsiness, weakness, and exhaustion during the day
  • Trouble with concentrating and focusing
  • Irritability, anxiety or depression
  • Various digestive issues such as stomach ache, diarrhea, and constipation

No matter how amazing the place you are visiting looks or fascinating the business people, you are meeting, having a bout of jet lag can wreak havoc on your day.

It’s for this reason exactly why you should give a try anything and everything that can make it go away or at least keep it to a minimum.

Health experts confirm that drinking plenty of water is very good for dealing with jet lag and the various symptoms that come with it.

Instead of drinking water when a jet lag is already around, consider consuming enough of it even before this problem that’s commonly encountered by most travelers shows up.

So in other words, you should see to it that you keep your body hydrated properly while on a plane. Again, don’t drink any water that is handed to you by the flight attendant — the best one for the job is bottled water that’s sealed.

There are Drinks Available Other Than Water

It’s not just water that a flight attendant may serve you with, but a bunch of other beverages as well. Sometimes they are available at no cost, while in certain instances, they come with a price tag.

By the way, at times where you are seated — business, first-class, or economy class — is a factor when it comes to which drinks you may have for free.

Also, the time of day and length of flight are contributors, too. It is, therefore, important to check with the airline company before you travel, which drinks you may order gratis.

Going back to other beverages that you may have on an airplane, something that is constantly demanded by many passengers is coffee.

Who doesn’t love coffee? The smell of a freshly-brewed cup of it is more than enough to reduce your stress and make your day brighter, both of which can come in very handy, most especially during a long-haul flight, and you are located in a sardine can that is also known as economy class.

Coffee also has invigorating properties because of caffeine, which is a stimulating substance.

If getting some shut-eye is not an option because you are not comfortable in your seat or the person seated next to you is noisy and constantly budging, then drinking coffee may sound like a good idea — you might as well indulge in it to feel better.

Unfortunately, there are a few reasons why you should consider staying away from coffee while flying. Here are some of those that might make you stick to bottled water on your next flight:

  • Caffeine in coffee has diuretic properties. In other words, it’s something that can make you pee more than usual. This is the reason why drinking coffee, especially in excessive amounts, can leave your body dehydrated. Just like what was discussed earlier, dehydration can make a jet lag worse plus cause a bunch of other issues that can definitely make a long-haul flight a horrible experience.
  • Drinking coffee can worsen anxiety. Are you like many people who are afraid of flying? Then you should definitely steer clear of coffee before and during your flight. That’s because its caffeine content can, in fact, make you feel even more anxious. Your heart will surely beat faster, your hands will shake more noticeably, you will sweat even more, and you may even feel dizzy and lightheaded.
  • Water for making coffee may be dirty. Earlier, we also talked about the fact that most airline companies rarely clean the tanks that hold the water supply of their planes. This is why there is a possibility that coffee on a plane may be laden with microbes unless the water used for brewing it has been boiled thoroughly. If the airline is serving iced coffee in a can or plastic bottle, it’s a much better idea to go for it instead.

Tea is also commonly served on a plane free of charge. But just like coffee, it also contains caffeine but only about half the amount. What’s more, water used for brewing tea is likely to come from an unclean tank.

Another beverage that you may order during your long-haul flight is soda. While it is something that can definitely leave you feeling refreshed, there are a few reasons why you should not ask the flight attendant to serve you with it.


The following are some of the things that will make you avoid soda the next time you fly:

  • Just like coffee, soda has caffeine in it. Needless to say, you may have a hard time getting some sleep if you would like to rest your peepers, you may feel more anxious if you are afraid of flying, and you may wind up dehydrated and thus having a terrible jet lag afterward.
  • Excess gas can leave you feeling so uncomfortable. Bloating caused by soda intake does not begin and end with the fact that the beverage is carbonated. Did you know that in higher altitudes, gas tends to expand? This is why introducing gas into your digestive tract via soda intake is a definite no-no!
  • Sugar in soda is bad for your health. It’s no secret that soda is loaded with refined sugar, which is bad for your body. The intake of soda may also cause you to experience a sugar crash, which is characterized by irritability, exhaustion, headaches, anxiety, and trouble with concentrating.
  • Even diet soda is not good. Just because soda is free of sugar doesn’t mean that it’s a great alternative to regular soda. Diet soda still contains caffeine, which can easily wreak havoc on your overall experience on a plane. The artificial sweetener in it is linked to all kinds of health-related concerns, too, but that’s another story.

Aside from coffee, tea, and soda, there is another beverage that’s commonly ordered on a plane, and that’s none other than alcohol! Keep on reading — let’s discuss alcohol intake while flying.

Not All Airline Companies Serve the Same Kinds of Alcohol

Common sense will tell you that passengers in business or first class are likely to enjoy better complimentary alcoholic drinks than those who are in economy class.

This is something that can be expected as most of those who take business or first class are VIPs, and of course, they spend more money just for them to be able to travel in style and also experience comfort while thousands of feet from the ground for several hours.

Did you know that different airlines also serve different alcoholic beverages? It’s not just the type of alcohol that tends to differ from one plane to the next, but the quality as well.

For instance, Emirates is known to serve top-notch champagnes and wines coming from some of the world’s finest wine-producing regions across its network of routes.

And here’s one more really impressive thing about the said airline company: except for champagnes, all alcoholic drinks are served for free to passengers no matter if they are flying business, first-class or economy!

However, take note that no complimentary alcohol is served on flights headed to Saudi Arabia, which is actually standard for most airlines flying there.

Unlike Emirates, you can drink champagnes for free when flying Air France provided that it is a long-haul flight that you are taking.

What’s more, you may enjoy complimentary champagnes no matter in which cabin you are seated. Aside from champagnes, you may also ask the flight attendant to serve you free wines.

Do take note that alcoholic drinks being served by Air France at no cost were chosen by Olivier Poussier, one of the world’s most famous wine stewards. So, in other words, you will surely enjoy the experience.

No matter where you are seated on a Lufthansa plane, you can have a beer without shelling out any money. Just in case you didn’t know, Lufthansa is not only the flag carrier airline of Germany but also the largest airline company in the country.

And what’s one of the major parts of Germany’s culture? Beer! That is why when flying from one city or country to the other via Lufthansa, you can enjoy some of the finest beers from Germany.

Rumor has it that Singapore Airlines spend about 10% more money on the food and drinks of its passengers. This is the reason why it’s not unlikely for you to enjoy some of the best alcoholic drinks on a plane while waiting to get to your destination.

Many can attest to the fact that the flight attendants of Singapore Airlines have extensive knowledge of the in-flight cocktails which you may have at no extra charge!

Speaking of cocktails, keep on reading to know some of those that most airline companies serve either for free or with a price tag, and also the ones that you can easily make from scratch during your flight.

Various Cocktails That You Can Make

It’s very much possible for you to stash a certain amount of alcohol in your carry-on luggage. Unfortunately, it is illegal to drink any of them once you’re on the plane.

Worry not if you would like to drink a little alcohol to reduce your stress and anxiety related to flying and traveling in general. That’s because you can still have a drink while flying.

All you have to do is kindly ask the flight attendant to serve you with your favorite alcohol, provided that it is being offered. So in other words, you cannot consume alcohol that is in your bag, but it’s perfectly fine for you to drink in-flight alcohol!

Usually, you can be served with an assortment of types of alcoholic beverages — we will discuss more of this later on in this article.

Aside from the usual beer, wine, rum, whiskey, vodka, and champagne, are you aware that a lot of airlines offer a wide variety of cocktails as well?

With their availability, you can enjoy almost the same level of comfort and happiness that you can get from your favorite bar even while stuck on a plane during a long-haul flight.

Just because cocktails are available doesn’t mean that you can order just about any alcoholic drink that you like. Of course, cocktails that can be served on a flight, be it for free or otherwise, depend on the airline company.

So what happens if your preferred cocktail isn’t available on the flight you’re on?

Well, you can actually make it from scratch, provided that you have some basic ingredients that the flight attendant would be more than willing to provide you with!

Believe it or not, some of the most popular cocktails on the face of the planet are really simple to make, and you can create some of them during a long-haul flight.

Cocktail on a plane

Here’s how to make a few cocktails whose ingredients are easily accessible:

  • Mimosa. Of all the cocktails that you can make on a plane, nothing can be as quick and simple as a mimosa. Simply combine champagne with orange juice, and you’re set to have a great time.
  • Whiskey Coke. This is another cocktail that you can enjoy trouble-free while flying. Just like what the name suggests, you just have to mix whiskey with Coke.
  • Whiskey ginger. Not a fan of Coke because of the nasty stuff associated with soda that we discussed earlier? Instead of Coke, you may combine whiskey with ginger ale to make a serving of whiskey ginger.
  • Screwdriver. If you’re in a rush to have your dose of cocktail, just ask the flight attendant for a glass of vodka with ice. Top it off with orange juice and enjoy!
  • Gin and tonic. It’s plain to see why this particular alcoholic drink is so easy to make on an airplane: you only need a gin and tonic water. For best results, see if the flight attendant could hand you lemon wedges.
  • Bloody Mary. To whip up a serving of this classic cocktail, all you have to do is ask the flight attendant to hand you some ice, vodka, and tomato juice. Don’t forget to request a packet of hot sauce to give it some kick.
  • Sangria. You can have the best makeshift sangria on a plane by combining just a few ingredients, and they’re none other than red wine, cranberry juice, orange juice, and of course, ice.
  • White Russian. It may seem like it’s a complicated cocktail to make while flying, but this version is really hassle-free to create — just combine equal amounts of whiskey and whatever coffee liqueur the flight attendant may serve.
  • Moscow mule. You’re in luck if the airline is serving ginger beer. That’s because it will allow you to make a serving of Moscow mule — just mix it with vodka and add a squeeze of lime juice.
  • Wine spritzer. No matter if it’s red or white wine that’s available, you just have to add some Sprite to it to turn it into a wine spritzer. Avoiding soda? Use club soda instead.
  • Juan Collins. It may be a fancy cocktail, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy it mid-air. All you need to do is place some lime wedges in a cup, add a packet of sugar, pour some tequila, and top it off with club soda.

As you can see, some of everyone’s favorite cocktails are actually so easy to make. That is why you should not worry if your preferred cocktail is not available on a plane because you can have it if you set your heart on it, and also if you politely ask the flight attendant for the necessary ingredients.

Let’s Do a Recap of Drinks You Can Uncap on a Plane

There is no denying that the best drink that you should order on a plane is water — bottled water, to be exact.

That’s because it helps to keep your body hydrated, and thus reducing stress, fatigue, and many other unfavorable things related to traveling, especially when taking long-haul flights.

Consuming sufficient amounts of water during your flight, according to health experts, can also help to reduce a jet lag and its numerous unfavorable symptoms.

While most airlines of today also serve coffee, tea, and soda, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should get your hands on them. Especially if they are consumed excessively, they can do more harm than good.

If staying away from any of these drinks is hard to do, just make sure that you consume them in moderation.

A lot of airline companies also serve alcohol, most of the time, on the house, too. Of course, it can be tempting to order and drink them, especially if they are being offered free of charge.

However, it is important to note that the intake of alcohol may cause your body to become dehydrated, which is something that can lead to all kinds of uncomfortable symptoms.

And as talked about earlier, dehydration can make a bout of jet lag worse. Especially if you are crossing quite a few time zones and also prone to having a jet lag, it is a bad idea to take lots of alcohol.

Besides, alcohol can keep you from having a sleep that is both restorative and invigorating. If your goal is to spend a few hours getting some Z’s on a plane so that you will arrive at your destination looking as well as feeling refreshed, then having alcohol is something that you may want to dodge.

However, we can all agree that drinking alcohol is very good at dealing with anxiety. And this is why if flying makes you feel terrified and you are unable to calm down in your seat, you may have a little alcohol.

Worry not if you have a favorite cocktail to drink each time you are anxious, and the airline company is not serving it.

Based on the various cocktail recipes given above, it is really easy to make some of your favorite drinks — many of the ingredients you will need to make some of them can be handed to you by a flight attendant.

All you need to do is ask for them politely.

Image credit: Flickr

Reed Harris

Reed is a traveler and blogger. He's planning to visit all states in the USA. He's been in 31 states so far.

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