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When you travel, do you ever wonder how you can be that person who is always ahead of the pack, even when things go awry? Hosts Vinod Viswalingam (@VViswalingam) and Geoff Dahl (@geoffdahl) are proud to present The Seat 1A Podcast.

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We have over 5 million miles of flying and over 10 years working for numerous airlines, enjoying all classes and cabins, and exploring airports on every continent. We're enthusiastic #avgeeks, with a keen interest in modern aviation trends and aim to share our knowledge in The Seat 1A Podcast. To learn more about who we are, check out Experience 010!

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Experience 031. Show Notes. A toast to this experience. Alcohol on flights. The Seat 1A Podcast.

Apr 20, 2020

Recorded 28 March 2020

Written by: Geoff Dahl & Vinod Viswalingam

Listen to this experience wherever you download your podcasts - including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, Google Podcasts, and Overcast.

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In this experience we look at alcohol and drinking on flights. What was the experience in days gone by, versus today on intercontinental flights?

Why is it when we drink on flights, we may end up feeling the effects of alcohol more strongly than when we are on the ground? Vinod shares an experience of a first-class hangover on a British Airways (BA) flight from Calgary to London-Heathrow.

Some start with their alcohol even before they board, at airport lounges, bars, or restaurants. Meanwhile other ultra low-cost carriers will charge for all alcohol – which leads to passengers trying to consume their own alcohol on board. Vinod shares a crew story of "cups of ice and cans of Sprite", with some very large gridiron football players.

There are times when a flight runs out of a certain type of alcohol – then what? Vinod shares an experience of needing to improvise "champagne service" on a hotspot flight.

When you board the flight, it's more than just smiles and salutations from the crew. The in-flight crew is often the first real interaction between a passenger and the airline to determine state of sobriety. Vinny shares the unfortunate story of a passenger who took three days to be in a sober state to fly.

A pilot has the final word and will not tolerate disrespect to the crew. Some go to great lengths to ensure that passengers respect that – as Vinod shares.

A plane of thirsty workers who have just left a mining camp made for interesting Friday afternoon flights for Vinod.

Some passengers unfortunately engage in more than just alcohol – Vinod shares a crazy story about a redeye flight to Varadero, Cuba.

Geoff jogs Vinod's memories of a wild flight to Paris, with drunken passengers just hanging around.

We're not saying that you can't enjoy your alcohol, but you have a responsibility as a passenger in case of an emergency. A crew will not be able to move your drunken body – are you posing a risk to your fellow passengers? Cheers, but make sure that you're still functional...the last thing you want to be is hungover in a customs or baggage queue.

And we share a tip about what if you suspect someone is in a drunken state. Remember, at the end of it all, it's all about safety.

News Item:

  • Sam Chui article "Farewell KLM B747 – A Special Flight on the KLM B747-400 Combi"

If you have a story about alcohol on flights, a question, or other experience that you would like to share, please email us at stories(at) or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Patreon. Show notes are available online at




NEWS ITEMS | Farewell KLM B747 – A Special Flight on the KLM B747-400 Combi (28 March 2020)
"...Due to the COVID-19 crisis, and its impact upon the aviation industry, airlines all over the world are retiring their older fleet sooner than planned. The much beloved KLM Boeing 747 is facing an early retirement, at the end of March this year..."



There are a small number of ways to bring your own alcohol on board and consume legally.


KLM decided to redeploy two parked combi aircraft in order to meet cornavirus-related demand.





  • What's in this experience? [00:00:58]
  • History of alcohol on board in the golden age of aviation. [00:01:26]
  • Complimentary alcohol on intercontinental flights. [00:01:58]
  • Why do you feel the effects of alcohol so much in a plane? [00:03:38]
  • The hangover hit Vinod hard after a transatlantic BA flight. [00:05:06]
  • The alcohol experience can start in the lounge or airport restaurants and bars. [00:07:32]
  • Other end of the scale with ultra low cost carriers, paying for everything on board. [00:09:15]
  • Passenger tricks - including consuming their own alcohol onboard. [00:09:32]
  • Cups of ice and cans of Sprite - a Canadian gridiron football team with passenger alcohol. [00:11:49]
  • What happens if a flight runs out of alcohol? [00:15:20]
  • Vinod improvising "Champagne" service. [00:17:57]
  • The crew at the front is doing more than greeting you. [00:20:08]
  • Check-in counter staff trained to look for drunken passengers, but so many people check in now with no interaction. [00:20:48]
  • Vinny's multi-day story of a drunk passenger - started before even checking in. [00:22:53]
  • Drunk passengers disrespecting the crew. The captain made sure he got the last word. [00:32:03]
  • Boomtime flights on a Friday afternoon. [00:36:33]
  • More than just alcohol in the last row of the plane on a redeye flight. [00:38:40]
  • Drunk passengers hanging from the overhead bins on a flight to Paris. [00:42:47]
  • What to look for as a Seat 1A passenger. [00:44:49]
  • Your responsibility as a passenger in case of an emergency - taking alcohol with medication. [00:45:41]
  • Flight crews do not have the ability to move your drunken body in case of an emergency. Are you posing a risk? [00:45:55]
  • Enjoy your alcohol, but you need to be functional at all times during a flight. [00:46:59]
  • You don't know how long your wait is going to be in a customs or baggage queue - you don't want to be hungover. [00:47:55]
  • What to do if you have the slightest suspicion of a drunken passenger. [00:48:16]
  • At the end of it all, it's all about safety. [00:48:54]
  • News Item: "Farewell KLM B747 – A Special Flight on the KLM B747-400 Combi". [00:49:15]
  • Show wrap-up. [00:52:33]