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Apparently, You’re Not Drinking Enough on the Plane

In the latest attempt to push a power-drink, New Zealand beverage maker 1Above has launched its “Jet Lag” flight drink to the North American market.

The company says flying really wears Americans down, resulting in  negative  performance. 1Above cites results a survey conducted online by Harris Poll this May, on its behalf. The survey participants included over 2,000 U.S. adults whose most recent flight was an hour or longer.

1Above concentrateSurvey participants said they needed one full day–or more–to recover after a flight. Results, the company says, showed that poor hydration and flying habits abound among flyers, factors which “greatly exacerbate jet lag symptoms and health risks long after each flight.”

Therefore, 1Above, New Zealand, valiantly branded a bespoke beverage “to fight jet lag and arrive ready.”

1Above Concentrate
1Above Concentrate, Image 1Above

“Flying takes its toll on our bodies, resulting in a set of symptoms that collectively most of us know as ‘jet lag.’ Yet whether we’re traveling for business or pleasure, most of us are expected to arrive at our destination ready to operate at 100%,” said Roger Boyd, founder of 1Above. “1Above was developed to dispel the misperception that jet lag is an inevitable side-effect of flying, and to help people feel better from take-off to landing and beyond. 1Above is about bringing back the love of flying, and our North American expansion brings us just another step closer to making that a reality.”

“The effects of flying and jet lag can be far reaching: from fatigue, low concentration and irritability to swelling in the extremities, headaches and dry skin, nasal and throat membranes,” the company warns. Added to this, 1Above highlights that the risk of DVT (deep-vein thrombosis) more than triples on long flights, and studies show you are five times more likely to catch the flu or other illness on a plane. Worried about flying yet? No? Well, consider that dehydration makes these risks more risky, according to 1Above..because cabin air.

At 35,000 feet, the company points out, air conditions are drier than the Sahara–and even so U.S. travellers fail to drink enough to stay hydrated. Note stats which prove seriousness of the cabin drinking crisis (quoted):

  • We don’t even realise the cause. Only 11% of Americans believe they experience dehydration when flying, putting the cause of their negative symptoms down to other factors. Yet 71% of air travellers whose most recent flight was at least one hour long1 did not drink sufficient liquids (all drinks excluding alcohol) on their last flight.
  • The longer the flight, the less we drink. On their last flight more than a third of air travelers said they did not drink any water (37%). Instead, many drank beverages that actually cause further dehydration (e.g., coffee, alcohol, soda). In fact, fliers are drinking more of these dehydrating fluids than water*.
  • Eighty-one percent of American air travellers whose most recent flight was less than an hour said they need at least one day or more of recovery time after a flight before operating at their best again, and a recent Loughborough University study showed those driving dehydrated commit as many mistakes as those over the legal drunk driving limit.

*Emphasis mine because really: water–that’s what you need. Just water, OK?

At any rate, 1Above is popular in Australia and New Zealand and hopes to become popular in the US and Canada. The company is banking on its special formula and fancy bottle to appeal to those for whom readily-available H2O is far too low-brow. Evidently, the secret ingredient which makes 1Above super-special is a natural pine bark extract–repeat a natural, pine bark extract (Pycnogenol®)–advertised to cure all manner of onboard ills, from dehydration to the common cold. There are also electrolytes and six essential B vitamins in the 1Above mix.

I swear by the restorative powers of Bayer’s inexpensive effervescent Berocca® multivitamin, but Bayer doesn’t pay me to say that, and it’s probably just because I like the funny orange flavour (almost TANG) and enjoy the little bubbles. Any multivitamin that includes Vitamin C is a boost of natural defences, if you feel you need one. To avoid contracting illness, carry antiseptic wipes and use them often–especially on aircraft surfaces.

Back to 1Above’s special jet lag brew, it comes in the 34 fl.oz. concentrate shown above, a 1L bottle, or effervescent tablets (which you add to W-A-T-E-R).

1Above Effervescent Tablets

The little concentrate bottle even comes with a clip “allowing the bottle to fit snuggly on your carry-on or on the seat pocket without impinging leg space.” Well, then, that’s another matter entirely.

I should say that 1Above’s study and tips, however self-serving, make good points about in-flight well-being. Proper hydration is key, as is healthy onboard dining.

Here are some of my own suggestions, based on decades of long-haul flight experience, that can help you fight jet lag and could even save you money:

  • L’Eau du Tap (water) also addresses dehydration levels, though you should NEVER drink from the onboard lavatory tap. Seriously. No. That’s why airlines also offer L’Eau de la Bouteille, either free or on sale from flight attendants.
  • Don’t consume too much alcohol. It’s best if you avoid it entirely. That’s not just on the plane but at the airport before take off.
  • Go easy on the coffee and teaand on the flight attendants serving them.
  • Eat light. Remember that in-flight meals may contain extra salt and seasonings to wake-up your dulled inflight palate. Eat light and drink water. This also applies to food and beverages consumed before take-off.
  • Moisturise your skin. Your skin will be just as thirsty as you are. Moisturise well after you shower to prepare for your trip, and use those security-proofed small bottles you probably already own to carry your favourite moisturisers for face and body. A soft, creamy lip balm is your best friend.
  • Sleep well the night before your flight. Prepare your bag in advance and leave your home with enough time to allow for some delays on the road without running too close to take off. Stress dehydrates and makes jet lag worse.
  • If you’re crossing time zones, decide whether to sleep or to stay awake depending on the time at your destination. If you’d be asleep if you were already there, then go on and get whatever sleep you can manage on the plane. If you’d be awake, watch an in-flight movie, play video games, read a book, or catch up on work.
  • After landing, go to sleep or stay active in keeping with whatever the locals are doing. If the sun is up, so should you be. If you’re unaccustomed to flying across time-zones, you could find that you’re drowsy in the middle of the day. Fight the urge to take a nap. Take a nice brisk walk in the fresh air. Let the sun shine on you. Get to know the place. By pushing yourself at this point, you train your body for the local time, you get necessary exercise, and can enjoy a quality sleep at night, waking up at a reasonable hour. There’s nothing more unpleasant than being wide awake from 01:00-06:00 then sleepy again when everyone else is having their breakfast.
  • At your destination–stay hydrated–you’ll need plenty of water to recover from cabin conditions, eating meals you’re unaccustomed to, and the stresses associated with travel.
  • DVT is a risk of staying seated for too long. If possible, get up every once in a while to stretch your legs, especially on very long flights. If you can’t get up without waking up your companions (and don’t need to use the loo) then consider some stretching exercises at your seat. Airlines usually include good suggestions in the in-flight magazine and sometimes on the in-flight entertainment screen too.

It’s also good to keep in mind that aircraft manufacturers are building new planes–including Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, the new Boeing 777X, and Airbus A350–that improve cabin conditions and airlines are buying them. These common-sense tips won’t let you down, no matter what aircraft you fly.

I find claims that water needs any boost to fight jet lag–especially a pine bark extract–dubious, so I’m filing this as a Flight Checks-FAIL. 

Travel is big business and people are eager to sell into the market, but the most experienced travellers will tell you that you don’t need anything fancy to have a good journey.

For practicality, comfort, and well-being, the basics work best. The only essential to carry with you at all times is patience. An open, positive attitude is also highly recommended.

"Water droplet blue bg05" by Taken byfir0002 | 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 - Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons -
“Water droplet blue bg05” by Taken byfir0002 | 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 – Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons.

You can decide whether a drink supplement makes you feel better, but nothing does hydrated better than the original, one-and-only, H2O.

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2 thoughts on “Apparently, You’re Not Drinking Enough on the Plane”

  1. Pingback: 10 Chic Tips: Before You Embark on Your Labor Day Weekend Journey | Flight Chic

  2. Travelled from Melbourne to Toronto via LA…nervous about jet lag as last time I took a similar route was ghastly …and only 30 years ago still vivid in my recall!!!
    Go kiwis
    Loved it
    …felt great(as did my 15 year old daughter, my husband was a sceptic but much softened after seeing the excellent effects)!!
    Was recommended by my Paramedic daughter!
    Apparently(shop gossip) it’s pilots go-to drink when travelling!!
    Thanks kiwis

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