If you’ve ever taken a long-haul flight (like Los Angeles to Australia) you probably know what flight dehydration feels like. By the time you’ve binge-watched 14 hours of a series and tried to get a little shut-eye, you get off the plane feeling wrecked.
So the question many travellers have asked but not many of us know the answer to is – how much water should you drink on a plane?
The short answer is eight ounces of water every hour as suggested by the Aerospace Medical Association.
How much is 8oz of water?
QUICK TIP: Conveniently, some airlines give out tiny bottles of water – these are 8 ounces! Also known as 236mL. If you have one of these tiny bottles, hold onto it and have the flight attendants fill it up every hour or so. You can even play a game with yourself and tally your bottles with a permanent market on the outside of the bottle to gauge how often you really are drinking water during your flight.
FYI the plastic / paper cups handed out on flights also tend to be around 8-9oz.
Short vs Long Flights
Flights around 3 hours or less are not as hard on your body as the long-hauls mentioned earlier. It’s still good to have a water when the in-flight service offers. If you want to sleep instead then make sure you have a good drink of water before and after your flights.
Longer flights are much harder on the body for several reasons; sitting down for extended periods of time is hard on your blood circulation and muscles, it’s more difficult to regularly fill your handy little 8oz bottle of water, you are exposed to filtered air with reduced humidity for an extended period of time.
On long flights try to drink enough water that you get up to use the loo (that’s Australian for “toilet”) on a regular basis. Clayton T. Cowl, M.D., Chair of the Division of Preventive, Occupational, and Aerospace Medicine at the Mayo Clinic explained that it’s also important to keep active and moving about once per hour on a long flight.
ANOTHER TIP: Don’t worry about annoying the flight attendants by asking for regular water refills. Although flight attendants are busy during the flight, they are in a customer service position for a reason – they tend to like people! If you ring your buzzer regularly, just remember to thank your flight attendant. Alternatively, get up and go down to the galley (the little kitchen areas in the plane are called “galleys”) and ask for a water refill. This often results in a great chat with the flight attendants and you get some exercise.
Wine a Little, Water More
If you like a few bevvies (that’s Australian for “boozy drinks”) on a plane (and who doesn’t…) don’t worry. Just keep a few things in mind;
- Alcohol dehydrates you extra in addition to the already drying conditions of being on an airplane
- Booze affects you more in the air so I always consider that “one in the air is worth two on the ground”
- Drink an extra 8oz of water for every alcoholic beverage you enjoy
Do you have another tip for staying hydrated while flying? Tell me in the comments!