“Rawdogging” Flights Isn’t The Gamechanging Detox You Think It Is
— 11 July 2024

“Rawdogging” Flights Isn’t The Gamechanging Detox You Think It Is

— 11 July 2024
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Somewhere between pushing “sigma grindsets” with Patrick Bateman edits soundtracked by Brazilian phonk, and the slightly more self-aware “locking in” movement, TikTok spawned the idea of “rawdogging” flights.

For those of you who aren’t chronically online, and therefore far healthier for your ignorance, the definition is completely straightforward. It’s also surprisingly non-sexual, despite the traditional connotations behind the very term.

“Rawdogging” (also see: “flying raw” or “flying bareback”) means to endure an entire flight without sleep, refreshments (that’s snacks and water), and sometimes even bathroom breaks. But principally, it means shunning any form of entertainment — movies, TV shows, music, or reading materials — on any form of screen.

The one key exception for this self-imposed abstinence from comfort?

In-flight maps. Aside from that, you’re embracing a state of psychological nakedness with nothing more than whatever’s rattling around in your noggin for however many hours. Hence the term.

While TikTok is certainly how this concept became ingrained within the mainstream, “rawdogging” flights pre-dates the trend itself. In 2022, then-Twitter user @blackprints posted the following about an individual they observed in the wild.

Prior to that, there was also a since-lost online recount of Hollywood actor Owen Wilson accomplishing a similar feat — boarding an international flight from the US in jeans and a tee, with zero luggage to break his fall on the other side. What an absolute specimen.

And prior to that, the practice appeared in an episode of Seinfeld (S09E01 — ‘The Butter Shave’), wherein Elaine Bennett’s (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) idiosyncratic boyfriend David Puddy (Patrick Warburton) “rawdogs” their flight to Oslo. It may or may not have been the justification for one of their countless break-ups.

On the subject of pop culture, “rawdogging” flights has invariably drawn comparisons with Apple TV+’s Hijack starring Idris Elba as corporate negotiator Sam Nelson. For context, the lead character — and I hate that I’m saying this — was forced to “lock in” when his seven-hour flight from Dubai to London is taken hostage.

In short, “rawdogging” is enjoying its moment in the sun right now. The ground rules have been established, it’s everywhere, and it’s very real. But we’ve still neglected to ask one obvious yet exceedingly crucial question…

What’s the goddamn point?

Perhaps it’s simply endemic to our culture that an age-old concept — such as sitting quietly and just chilling TF out — must be repackaged in a thin veneer of irony with a grabby neologism slapped on the side. Unless there is indeed a tangible benefit to what is essentially low-IQ meditation.

The immediate assumption is yes. Devices away = dopamine detox, which has become increasingly valuable in the current climate. All the other nonsense, however, may be a tad on the extreme side.

Experts have warned willingly dehydrating and fatiguing yourself for the sake of “rawdogging” a flight is ill-advised. In saying that, anyone who needed to be explicitly told this should probably be issued water wings in case they encountered a bowl of soup. Maybe even blunted scissors and larger format LEGOs for safety reasons.

“I would recommend hydrating with an electrolyte water, especially if you’re not eating, which can help moderate your stomach and blood pressure,” said dietician Julia Zumpano (via Conde Naste Traveller).

Nutritionist Dani O’Brien added: “You need water for your systems to work properly, including your brain if this is being done for mindfulness.”

Now here’s the real kicker: from a neurological standpoint, “rawdogging flights” doesn’t really fix anything.

“You’re not really unstimulated when you’re on a plane. You’re still going to have babies crying, the noise of the plane engine, and all those sorts of things,” neuroscientist Dr Williams told ABC.

"Rawdogging" Flights Isn't The Detox You Think It Is

Williams went on to suggest focusing your attention on a single thing as an alternative for those grappling with dopamine addiction; thereby forcing your brain to produce far more rewarding, slow-release neurotransmitters that last longer than those doom-scrolling dopamine hits.

“By doing something like colouring in, by the time you get to the end of it, you’ll probably get some serotonin because you’ve done something meaningful,” he explained.

“Your attention is constantly being grabbed by that other information and being shoved into your working memory, so it’s very stressful on our brains.”

Suffice it to say, if you’re looking to fix your life, TikTok isn’t where you’ll find the answers. In fact, go ahead and start by putting the phone down altogether.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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