Why You Crave Ginger Ale On Airplanes, Even If You Never Drink It Anywhere Else

If you've ever flown on a plane that served drinks and snacks, you might have noticed a strange occurrence happen with all of the other flight attendees. Maybe it's the altitude or the idea that they are in a large metal bird hundreds of feet in the air — but people order drinks they never would otherwise. Why is that? Why do we drink ginger ale on airplanes in such large quantities? Or how about tomato juice? I have never once drank that on the ground, but something about being in a plane has me reaching for the red can I normally avoid at all costs.

Sherry Ross, M.D., of Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California has provided some insight into the situation. While many people think that ginger ale must calm stomachs, the truth is that we are programmed to want it!

So when you ask the stewardess to bring you an ice cold glass of ginger ale, what you are really hoping to get is that comforting feeling that your mother or father provided as you grew up! The same this is true about tomato juice. Tomato soup is comfort food for those who have been sick, so we associate it with tomato juice without even knowing. Your brain is a magnificent place!


If you are a nervous flier, you have a lot of helpful tips to sift through before getting into your designated seat. Turbulence is my worst enemy and anyone who sits on a plane with me knows this to be true. If you start to feel the plane shaking, avoid grabbing hold of the arm rests. Instead, place your arms on your lap or across your chest. The less contact you have with the plane's structure, the less shacking you will feel.

If the ginger ale and tomato juice doesn't seem to calm your stomach pains, or you just don't like drinking that on a plane, try packing some ginger root or ginger lozenges with you. Sucking on the root can help ease your active stomach. There is nothing wrong with being scared of flying. Unfortunately it is a part of life and you will have to learn to deal with it. The more you learn about your travel, the less worrisome it will get.

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