Why Do We Have the Sudden Urge to Drink Tomato Juice on Airplanes?

The captain has turned off the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign, and the dehydrating effects of the airplane’s dry, recycled air already have you panting. Where the heck is the flight attendant with your 5-ounce pour of refreshment?

He hasn’t even barreled down the airplane aisle yet, bumping your elbow with the cart along the way, to start service for the lucky few in the first few rows. It’ll be at least a half hour before he makes it all the way back to you in row 15. So you patiently wait as you listen to the refreshing sound of cans of soda and beer being opened.

Finally, he’s only two rows away and the sweet yet repugnant smell of tomato juice hits your nose as passenger after delirious passenger orders the thick, salty concoction that they would never, ever order on the ground. You’re not sure whether to be repulsed or give into airplane peer pressure.

Natali Glado / Shutterstock.com
Natali Glado / Shutterstock.com

Both of the passengers seated next to you give in. The flight attendant splashes specks of red onto your crisp, white dress shirt as he pours their drinks. Unabated by the infraction on your personal space as his flabby, hairy arm reaches in front of you to pass the goopy drink over, you for a split second think about ordering tomato juice.