New Zealanders drink up large before boarding a flight, with half of parents admitting they have a tipple to help ease the strain of travelling with kids.

A survey for finds locals consume almost two drinks on average at the airport, spending $17.40 each visit on alcohol - about $43.6 million a year.

One in 10 drink before 9am and in addition to the 49 per cent of parents who hit the bottle to make the prospect of travelling with kids more bearable, 63 per cent also enjoying a drink after takeoff.

Fifteen per cent of those surveyed went on to admit they have had "one too many" before getting on a plane, with the offenders most likely to be 30 to 44-year-olds.


Beer is the drink of choice for men (54 per cent) and wine for women (41 per cent).

According to the first #AirportLife online survey of 308 Kiwis, almost half (46 per cent) of Kiwi travellers wet their whistle before take off.

North Islanders are more likely to be found at the bar with 48 per cent of those surveyed enjoying a pre-flight drink compared to 38 per cent of South Islanders.

The survey found that 'holiday time' definitely starts early for more than a third of fliers, with 37 per cent admitting to having their first pre-flight drink before midday, and one in 10 (13 per cent) before 9am.

A before noon pre-departure drink was more likely to be enjoyed by men (47 per cent) than women (24 per cent).

The pre-take off drinking habits of Kiwis:

Respondents aged 30 to 44 were also revealed as the most likely to have a drink with 55 per cent stopping at the bar pre-flight, followed by 45 to 59-year-olds (44 per cent).

The #AirportLife research of those who travelled domestically or internationally is part of a wider campaign that explores airport behaviour,

Nathan Graham, regional sales manager at Cheapflights ANZ, said it was "astounding" to see the number of people who opt for a drink as soon as they arrive at the airport, no matter the time of day.

"It seems the airport is a place where the normal rules of life are suspended."

Reasons for drinking were less surprising, however.

It seems the airport is a place where the normal rules of life are suspended.


"After the stress of packing, getting to the airport and queuing through security, 58 per cent of respondents said it was a way to celebrate and kick off the holiday, while three quarters (73 per cent) said they have a bevvy to simply kill time before boarding."

Seven per cent of respondents also said they, or someone they know, have been told that they can't get on a flight because they've had too much alcohol.

"With almost a third (30 per cent) unaware that high altitude can increase the effect of alcohol on the body, we need to be mindful that our mentality to 'cut loose' on holiday, or even before we've left, may have consequences," said Graham.

However, Kiwis are conservative when compared to Brits, Aussies and Americans as 62 per cent, 60 per cent and 49 per cent of travellers respectively, enjoy a drink when travelling.