Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

Ask Away: Can I drink and fly?

Travel's online expert Eli Orzessek answers your questions.
New Zealand Herald Travel reporter Eli Orzessek. Photo / Dean Purcell
New Zealand Herald Travel reporter Eli Orzessek. Photo / Dean Purcell

Does alcohol affect you more on a plane or is it an urban myth?

It's a common warning, but it seems like it may be an old wives' tale. A 1995 Austrian study found no real difference in blood alcohol levels between those drinking at sea level and those at 10,000 feet.

However, altitude sickness may be the real culprit. It can affect anyone and symptoms include vomiting, fatigue, dizziness and drowsiness - which all sound very familiar to anyone who's ever been quite drunk.

Many passengers also take medication for anxiety while flying, most commonly those in the benzodiazepine class. It's worth remembering that if you're drinking in the air, these handy little pills can intensify the effects of alcohol and lead to black-outs.

Aussie batsman David Boon once recorded a remarkable half century by drinking 52 cans of beer during Australia's plane trip to England for the 1989 Ashes. Apparently he was able to walk off the plane and attend a function hosted by a beer company later that evening.

Am I able to fly directly between the United States and Cuba?

Currently, there are no commercial direct flights from the United States to Cuba - it's all a little early for that just yet - the two countries are only just starting to talk after more than a century of frostiness.

However, American Airlines said in a release it would submit a service proposal to the US Department of Transportation and hopes to introduce flights this year. The airline has offered charters to Cuba since 1991, with current flights from Miami, Tampa and Los Angeles to the Cuban cities of Camaguey, Cienfuegos, Havana, Holguin and Santa Clara.

JetBlue also plans to apply for new routes and told the New York Times newspaper it would likely apply for routes from from Orlando International Airport, Tampa International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport.

United Airlines and Southwest Airlines have also expressed interest, so US-Cuba flights are sure to be a bustling marketplace in no time.

For Kiwis travelling to Cuba, travel agents normally look at routes via Mexico or Toronto, Canada. From here you can travel via South American but this can make for a longer route with more stops.

Do you have a question for Eli?

- NZ Herald

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