Australians spend $210 million a year on pre-flight drinks

Peter Terlato 28 October 2016

beer airport

Beer is the drink of choice for men and wine for women.

Whether it's a few beers ahead of a night out with friends, champagne breakfasts before a day at the races or a courage-giving cocktail preceding dinner to help break the ice on that tricky first date, Australians love pre-drinks - and that extends to our travel habits.

A new survey conducted by has found more than half (60%) of Aussie travellers enjoy a drink at the airport before boarding their flight.

Australians consume, on average, two drinks at the airport, spending $21.70 on alcohol each time they visit, roughly equating to $210.5 million each year.

The research found almost half (47%) of all respondents admit to downing their first pre-flight drink before midday and a fifth (21%) enjoy theirs before the breakfast rush at 9am.

Men prefer beer (55%) before they board, while it's red or white wine (32%) for women.

The most prolific pre-loaders were those fliers aged 30 to 44 years of age. Almost three-quarters (74%) of these respondents enjoy a pre-flight drink. The next most likely group to enjoy alcohol at the airport were those aged 18 to 29 years (64%).

This is worrying, considering Aussies in their forties receive the most treatment for alcohol abuse.

Alcohol is also the leading cause of burden of disease for Australians under the age of 45.

Despite being great little savers, Aussie children's antics in the air are the main reason the majority of mums and dads (70%) visit the airport bar before take-off. Around the same proportion (71%) also enjoy a few beverages once on board.

Pre-flight drinks were seen by around half (49%) of all respondents as a celebratory way to begin the holiday they're about to embark upon. However, a significant proportion (60%) of people said drinking was just a way to kill time before boarding.

West Australians were the most likely residents of any state to have a pre-flight drink (64%) and more once aboard the aircraft (80%). South Australians enjoyed the most drinks (2.6 drinks each) at the airport, followed closely by those in WA (2.4 drinks each).

Too many drinks can lead to disaster and one third of respondents admit there have been times when they've had "one too many" prior to flying. One fifth of respondents said they, or someone they knew, have been told they can't board due to intoxication.

Boozing on holiday could leave you with more than just a sore head. Many insurers will have exclusions that prohibit claims where alcohol contributed to the incident. Check our guide to learn what "under the influence" means and in what circumstances insurers will pay alcohol-related claims.

Picture: Shutterstock

More help from

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Ask a question