We’re off on holiday, hurrah! Wakened by the alarm at 4:30am we’ve made our way to the airport, braved Easyjet’s automated check-in, passed through security unscathed, grabbed breakfast in the departure lounge and walked the miles to the gate. As we take our seats on the plane it’s obvious we have a stag party with us; a large group of rowdy blokes surrounding a poor unfortunate fellow in what looks like a princess dress. They’ve obviously enjoyed a few pints in the departure lounge and one of them has to dash back to the toilet to empty his bladder even before securing the all-important overhead locker space.
Once we are airborne and the seatbelt signs are off, it’s no surprise that they’re setting about the onboard bar with gusto; our friend with the weak bladder has at least 4 empty cans to his name by the time the seatbelt sign comes on again, and (unsurprisingly) has to relieve himself again shortly before touchdown, earning a sharp rebuke from the cabin crew in the process.
So far, so normal. In fact, looking around the plane, quite a few people have taken advantage of the on-board bar; the guy opposite me is making steady progress through his G&T, and the wine is also flowing.
What’s odd about this, apart from the fact that this is an Easyjet flight and therefore all this consumption must be costing a small fortune, is that it’s not yet 8 o’clock in the morning! Now, I’m no temperance campaigner, I enjoy my drink, but first thing in the morning? I can’t help thinking that, if this were the 7:43 train to Charing Cross and someone set about a half bottle of red, there would be raised eyebrows and pitying looks. A champagne breakfast is deemed acceptable, but any other drinking before at least midday is definitely suspect.
If you’re flying though, it seems these rules don’t apply. Years ago my father used to fly to New York for a week each month for work. His coping strategy, regardless of the flight time, was to get on board, have three double brandies, and then sleep for the rest of the flight.
I wonder what makes this work? Why something that would normally be frowned on become totally acceptable when air travel is involved? My only suggestion is that it’s linked to long haul travel. If you’re flying halfway round the world it may be 5am where you are physically, but mentally you’re several time zones away so a G&T is what your body clock tells you is the right thing to be drinking. If you’re flying short haul you don’t have that excuse, but who’s to know eh? Cheers!