The correct answer is, of course, ginger ale. If you said anything else, you’re either wrong, or lying. Ginger ale is the perfect airplane drink. It’s fizzy, it goes perfectly with the hollowed-out ice cubes they always serve, and the flavor compliments any and all in-flight snacks.
This is not just the Uproxx opinion on in-flight beverages — it’s confirmed fact. Last year, a thread on Reddit exploded after user muki_mono asked the question, “I always see people drinking ginger ale on planes, but almost never off them. I drink the same thing on planes than I do on solid ground, and it’s not ginger ale, but I keep feeling like there’s something everyone else is in on and I’m not.” While most users pointed to its stomach-settling properties, one user referred to it as “magic sky juice,” while another compared it to eating cranberry butter on Thanksgiving or Eggs Benedict on Christmas morning. “It’s just sort of…tradition.”
Now, Sherry Ross, an M.D. at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., has weighed in on the debate. According to her, it sort of has to do with ginger’s touted anti-nausea properties…but sort of not.
“It’s not the ginger providing the relief,” she said. “You’re buying into the power of suggestion. We’ve learned from our mothers and grandmothers, who brought us ginger ale and chicken-noodle soup when we were sick as kids, that ginger ale works. Those types of foods have powerful messaging to our brains and that alone makes us feel better.”
So, maybe a lot of people really are ordering the ginger ale to avoid using their token seat back pocket barf bags. But whether or not the drink works is questionable. At the very least though, it makes us feel better when the plane is going through the violent pitches of what captains everywhere like to call “little patches of turbulence.”