What happens when you drink wine in the air?

JUST THE ONE: It's easy to take advantage of the free bar service when we are flying, but consider what this does to your system and your palate.

JUST THE ONE: It's easy to take advantage of the free bar service when we are flying, but consider what this does to your system and your palate.

Whether you are on a long haul flight to an exciting destination or a simple hop for a business meeting, the temptation to enjoy a glass of wine or alcohol on board the aircraft remains.

For even the most relaxed travelers, air travel can be fairly stressful. From the effects on your body to flight delays and turbulence, even seasoned flyers have to deal with all kinds of unexpected situations.

It is therefore no surprise that many of us look forward to enjoying a drink on the plane, whether you prefer a relaxing cup of tea or something a bit stronger. However we all make that mistake of choosing the wrong drink or over-indulging when flying.

There are many factors that change our metabolism and make alcohol consumption on the plane a bad choice. One of the most notable is how different everything tastes when we are in the air.

It's a well-known fact that dehydration is one of the side affects our bodies suffer from when we drink too much alcohol. The air on a plane is extremely dehydrating. During a flight you lose a lot of water due to the dry air-conditioning in the plane. The humidity is around 10 per cent - rather like a desert. On a 10-hour flight you could lose up to two litres of water.

The lower level of oxygen in our blood, also causes us to become more intoxicated in a shorter time. When the cabin pressure is higher than what our systems are used to, then alcohol takes control.

Our taste buds are dulled by the high pressure in the cabin and this makes food and wine seem more acidic and watery. And while a few drinks may help you fall asleep, alcohol affects the quality and quantity of sleep and alters circadian rhythm and blocks REM sleep.

Carbonation in sparkling wine can affect our digestive systems. The altitude increase can expand intestinal gas up to 30 per cent, making you feel bloated, gassy, or nauseous, which is not the way you want to feel when you've got a long day of traveling ahead of you.

If you want to enjoy the wines on board, then go for a rounded red wine such Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for red and Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio for white.

Have wine only with your meal and drink bottled water.