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Caffeine Hush: Why You Shouldn't Drink Coffee Before And During A Flight

The aroma of brewing coffee, the caffeine rush, the bittersweet taste of a fresh brew--how can you say no to a delightful cuppa right before a long-haul flight?

Although drinking a cup of coffee before or during a flight have become travel rituals for many, it's not actually a wise thing to do, especially when you're going on a long-haul flight.

While coffeeholics claim to be masters of caffeine, the effects of caffeine is amplified in higher altitudes. This makes you more prone to jitteriness and nausea after a cup than when you’re on sea or ground level. And since the effects of coffee only wears off after five to six hours, that's quite a long while to gamble your body's well-being on air.


Since coffee is a mild diuretic, a cup will make you want to go make repeated trips to the bathroom to pee. Off the bat, that’s already a hassle especially when you’re on the window seat (Travel tip: bathroom goers should always book the aisle seat so it’s easier to get up and go to the plane toilet).

In addition, if you're not a big water drinker, a coffee before or during a flight increases your risk of dehydration. Add that to your skin and immune system's struggle to fight the dehydrating environment of a pressurized cabin. Getting dehydrated during a flight is one of the reasons why people feel air sick, high-altitude headaches, and suffer from other post-flight sickness.

Those prone to heartburn or gastric attacks are also advised to be extra careful of caffeine. Plane travel puts the body through extra stress and breaks its internal routine so adding salt to the wound will sure set off your stomach and heartburn attacks. So if you want to lower your being prone to these unsettling feelings, might as well stay away from a cup of coffee.

Many long-haul flights are scheduled during the nighttime so passengers can sleep through the flight. And like the age-old advice to not drink coffee hours before you sleep, you must also follow this coffee-drinking code when flying so as not to mess with your sleep cycle. Not having enough sleep and dehydration are the two main causes of jet lag so try to get the best rest—no matter how uncomfortable that plane ride is—during your flight so you’re not as sluggish upon arrival.

Apart from coffee, experts also advise people to stay away from cruciferous vegetables since these can make you bloated, and salty snacks and alcohol, which contribute to dehydrating your body.

Next time you’re flying, make sure you eat fruits and drink more water instead, to keep your body hydrated and fresh. Maybe you can save the celebratory coffee and alcohol for after you land instead.