Flying Hungover: The Longest 8 Hours of my Life

Some say flying drunk is great. A little alcohol to calm your nerves and hey, what else are you going to do while trapped in metal tube soaring through the air for hours?

Personally, I’m not exactly a big drinker so never experience drinking any alcohol on a plane let alone being drunk on a plane. The thing with me and planes is that they put me to sleep. I’m most likely fast asleep before the plane leaves the runway. There’s something about the noise of the engines starting up that sounds like a lullaby… I’m weird, I know.

Even though I’ve never experienced flying drunk, I have made the mistake of flying hungover. So please, learn from my mishap and NEVER FLY HUNGOVER.

Flying Hungover

After spending 1 year living in Germany, it was time to head back to home to Canada. I would have to leave my little German village at 6:30am to catch my flight from Frankfurt. So, being the most responsible and prepared I’ve ever been in my entire life, I packed all my things the day before. Seriously, this may have been the only time I’ve ever packed before the day of departure.

It just so happens my host family’s daughter was coming back from her exchange in Estonia the day before I left. It worked out well that I became friends with her group of friends and we ended up having a joint “Welcome Home/Goodbye” party. And of course, what’s a German party without a few beers? With my bags packed, it was time to just enjoy my last night.

While I thoroughly enjoyed my last night in Germany, I did not enjoy the 6am wake-up call of my last morning in Germany. I got up with foggy eyes and dizzily stumbled out to my pre-packed suitcases. Trying to still be a good little exchange student, I attempted to stay awake and engage my former host-sister who took up the responsibility of getting me to the airport so early. Needless to say my attempt failed but I did make it to the airport.

Now, I just needed to check in and find my gate. Simple tasks for the normal flyer but for the hungover one, not so easy. I eventually found where to check in and drop off my bags once a nice airport worker pointed out I was in the completely wrong area. The struggle was real at security, fiddling with my backpack and jewelry. I’m sure they suspected something was off with me. And after walking the entire length of the Frankfurt airport (not exactly a small airport if you didn’t know), I could finally sit and maybe keep an eye out for the other Canadian exchange student that I was flying home with.

We got on the plane, found our seats, and now I just needed to make it through the next 8 hours. This is where I thought things would get easy. Like I said, I have the tendency to fall asleep on planes. But behold, I got saddled with the middle seat. I had no window to curl up against in attempt to sleep off my misery. This wasn’t going to be an easy flight.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned what I was wearing yet. The best part of this whole thing is what I was wearing! While hungover you really just want to be comfortable and the same thing goes with flying in general. But I was just forced to pack my whole life into 2 suitcases while still trying not to go over the weight limit because I was flat broke at this point and couldn’t afford the overage cost. Since they can’t weigh what I’m wearing, I had a tank top, t-shirt, sweater, leggings, jeans, boots, baseball hat, sunglasses, 3 necklaces, and about 100 bangle bracelets between my 2 arms. I felt and sounded like a walking tambourine… Did I mention this all happened in August? Yea. I was boiling hot.

hungover Nomadic meg

The beauty after flying hungover

So, here I am, stuck in the middle seat tired, hungover, uncomfortable, and sweating more than I’d like to admit. All I want to do is sleep but can’t because I’m unable to sleep for more that 15 minutes at a time thanks to the middle-seat-sleeping-head-bob I had going on. Seriously, these were the longest 8 hours of my life. The flight to Germany was easy. I didn’t sleep then thanks to my nerves and instead watched 4 movies. I had an aisle seat and comfy clothes on. Time past by so fast. But no, it was the exact opposite on my way home.

The plane finally touched down in Toronto after what felt like days and I made my best attempt to not seem hungover to customs or my parents. By this point I don’t think I was still hungover, I was just wrecked from my personal flight from hell.

So, I learned my lesson to never fly hungover… Though I can’t say I actually learned anything. I have since taken buses and ferries for hours while hungover. It’s all the same really… and none ended up well.

6 thoughts on “Flying Hungover: The Longest 8 Hours of my Life

  1. February 25, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    Oh wow, doesn’t sound like a fun experience at all. In five years of travel I’ve had more than my fair share of going away parties and thus also had many a hungover airport encounters. NO FUN! Getting drunk while on the plane is a much better idea, especially if you are flying one of the Middle Eastern or Asian based airlines where alcohol on flights is still free. Makes sleeping on the plane a lot easier. Next time try and give that a shot — just be careful b/c landing in a new, strange country while hungover and having to deal with immigration is not the best experience either, especially when things go wrong.

    There is also the getting drunk at the airport just before flight option if you are flying with an airline that doesn’t serve free alcohol. San Jose airport in Costa Rica is one of my favorites for this. They allow you to bring open containers or alcohol through security — then you can literally chug all the free drinks you want while sitting at your gate and playing the waiting game. Just make sure to finish before getting on the flight b/c there is a crew waiting at the airplane door confiscating all remaining open containers right before you hop on the plane 😉
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    1. meggiekay
      February 26, 2014 at 9:08 AM

      Yea. I’ll have to keep these in mind for the next time. Unfortunately, I was 18 when this story took place and since I wasn’t legal to drink in the destination country, I doubt they would have served me alcohol on the plane. But drinking at the airport could have been a solution if I wasn’t in such a rush to catch the plane. Ugh. Haha. I feel like I need to experience flying drunk at some point in my life now.

  2. February 26, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    That sounds awful, especially wearing all those clothes too. It sounds like your worst nightmare at the time but it makes a great story now 🙂

    1. meggiekay
      February 26, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      A lot of the things that suck at the time turn into great stories. Like when I got bit by a monkey – .
      It’s one of the funniest story I have but it was terrifying at the time! Haha

  3. May 7, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    Yep. Traveling hungover in any vehicle is no fun at all.

  4. Maria
    June 28, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Oh Megan, was haben wir dir angetan? What did we do to you??? But the party before was awesome 😀 You were not the only one with a Hang-over 😉
    I just found this blog and it’s funny to read about this so many years later. I would be glad if you would come again for a visit.

    Best wishes,

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