Here’s an experiment to try the next time you flight on a private plane. Soak a cloth hand towel with water at the beginning of the flight and hang it up somewhere out of the way. After about 1.5 hours, you’ll find that the towel is bone dry. This occurs because planes have extremely low relative humidity levels of 20 percent or less. You may feel the effects of the dry conditions when your eyes begin to tear or feel scratchy, your skin feels irritated, and you feel parched. Staying hydrated while traveling on a private charter flight is about more than satisfying feelings of thirst. It’s also about supporting your overall health.
Hydration and the Body
The human body contains a lot of water. A 170-pound individual, for example, has over 10 gallons of water in his or her body. Almost everything you do uses the water in your body, as even the simple acts of breathing or blinking cause you to lose water. When relative humidity levels in cabins drop, your body uses more water to carry out essential functions.
Dehydration is a serious condition. When your body is dehydrated, you become thirsty. Your skin and eyes may feel dry, itchy or irritated. A lack of water also leads to:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Increased sodium levels in the blood
- Increased heart rate
- Decreased urine output
- Confusion (When you’re on a private flight for business, the last thing you need is to feel fatigued or confused, especially if you have an important decision to make or have business partners flying with you. )
When you feel thirsty, your body is out of balance. It begins borrowing water from cells to replace the water your bloodstream needs. Eventually, the cells dry out and stop functioning properly.
Tips for Staying Hydrated during a Private Flight
According to a May 2008 article in Aviation International News, dehydration leads to pilot fatigue. To prepare for long flights, pilots often bring gallon-sized jugs of water with them on planes. Taking a cue from them will help you arrive at your destination feeling more like yourself and less achy and tired.
- In general, it’s a good idea to consume 1 cup of water each hour during a flight. Keep in mind that some of the foods that you enjoy are great hydrators, such as:
- Prepared oatmeal
- Avoid sugary drinks. While sweet drinks are hydrating, they may energize you, causing you to need more fluids because your activity level increases.
- Consider sports drinks. If you feel well, water may be all you need to stay adequately hydrated during a private flight. If you’re getting over an illness or recently experienced stomach problems, consume sports drinks that will replenish your electrolyte levels and hydrate you.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These substances dehydrate the body. If you enjoy a drink with an in-flight meal or a cup of coffee afterward, you may need to increase your water intake.