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Kiwis spend over $43 million on pre-flight drinks


Bottoms Up? Kiwis Divided on Airport Drinks Pre-Departure
Cheapflights survey finds Kiwis spend over $43 million on pre-flight drinks

It seems that Kiwis are a divided bunch when it comes to indulging in a pre-holiday drink before boarding their flight. According to the first #AirportLife survey from, a cheeky airport tipple is enjoyed by almost half (46 per cent) of Kiwi travellers prior to take off. Not only that, North Islanders are more likely to be found queuing at the bar with 48 per cent of those surveyed enjoying a pre-flight drink compared to 38 per cent of South Islanders.

According to the research, locals consume almost two drinks on average at the airport, spending $17.40 each visit on alcohol – which equates to approximately $43.6 million per year – with beer being the drink of choice for men (54 per cent) and wine for women (41 per cent).

Pouring into the drinking habits of New Zealand travellers further, the survey found that ‘holiday time’ definitely starts early for more than a third of jetsetters, with 37 per cent admitting to having their first pre-flight drink before midday, and one in 10 (13 per cent) before 9am. A morning pre-departure drink was more likely to be enjoyed by men (47%) than women (24%).

Respondents aged 30 to 44 years old were also revealed as the most likely to have an alcoholic beverage with 55 per cent stopping at the bar pre-flight, followed by 45 to 59 year olds (44 per cent). Half of parents (49 per cent) also admitted to having a tipple to make the prospect of travelling with kids more bearable, with 63 per cent also enjoying a drink when in the air.

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Commenting on the #AirportLife research, which is part of a wider campaign that explores airport behaviour, Nathan Graham, Regional Sales Manager at Cheapflights ANZ, said: “It’s 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.

“The reasons we’re choosing to have a tipple are less surprising however. 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.”

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. Just 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 Mr Graham.

Additional key findings include:
Men are more likely to have a drink at the airport (51 per cent) and during a flight (68 per cent) versus women (41 per cent and 54 per cent respectively)
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
A majority (65 per cent) of North Islanders will have a drink on the flight, and they are also most likely to enjoy a beverage before take-off (48 per cent)
Four in 10 (38 per cent) people from the South Island head to the bar pre-flight with almost half (46 per cent) having a drink in the air
North Islanders report to drinking almost twice the amount of those from the South Island, two and 1.2 drinks on average respectively
Those under 29 tend to drink the largest amount, averaging 2.5 drinks
Of the 70 per cent of respondents who know high altitude can increase the effect of alcohol on the body, 40 per cent try to reduce their alcohol consumption while 30 per cent continue to carry on at the bar regardless

For more information or to search your next holiday, visit, and to join the conversation online #AirportLife.


The #AirportLife research was commission by Cheapflights
308 New Zealanders from a nationally representative sample completed the survey
The online survey was undertaken between Saturday 24 September and Friday 30 September
Questions and results were broken into three parts, with Airport Drinking Habits making up the first segment

© Scoop Media

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