Why You Shouldn’t Drink Coffee, Tea or Tap Water on a Plane

It’s not very difficult to figure out that you shouldn’t drink tap water on a plane. The plane’s holding tanks aren’t that clean, and water usually must pass through multiple channels to get onto a plane in the first place. Each time it’s transferred, it’s open to contamination.

Most airlines serve bottled water, but those run out—and I’ve seen flight attendants on multiple flights (U.S. and international) refill those large plastic bottles with tap water to give the appearance of bottled water. I can taste the difference right away and will usually ask if it’s tap water. I’ve been assured before that what I was drinking was not tap water and stopped drinking anyway. I knew they were lying.

Well, according to this Business Insider (BI) article, flight attendants won’t even drink coffee or tea on planes because the tap water is so dirty and the drinks aren’t hot enough to kill any harmful bacteria. Here’s one of the statements BI received about airplane water safety from The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

“Water onboard is regulated under the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure safe drinking water on the aircraft. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA pushed for this regulation over 15 years ago. The regulation gives broad discretion to airlines on how often they must test the water and flush the tanks. AFA does not believe this regulation goes far enough or is sufficiently enforced.”

Fortunately I don’t drink coffee or tea, but I know many people that do, including my wife. However, I have a feeling she won’t be having her spot of tea on our next flight. Will you?

Related: How Much Water You Should Drink on a Plane

 

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Why You Shouldn’t Drink Coffee, Tea or Tap Water on a Plane
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About the Author

Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

6 Comments on "Why You Shouldn’t Drink Coffee, Tea or Tap Water on a Plane"

  1. I never considered how gross the water tanks on a plane would be. Weirdly I assumed all of it was fresh. Ew!

  2. it i difficult to bring enough water aboard for a long flight even when you refill at the airport (after security)
    but the biggest insult was British air (among others )charging for a bottle of water!
    and in Toronto airport (changing planes) the water cost over 3.00 Canadian!
    however air Canada did offer juice, water etc……………every flight supports why I take ships whenever possible.

  3. OMG that is disgusting. Never again will I drink my beloved tea on a plane.

  4. Yuck. That is disgusting… Never again will I drink my beloved tea on a plane.
    I guess alcohol it is then. Much safer.

  5. Rick Butzberger | June 29, 2017 at 2:15 am | Reply

    I flew as crew or passenger for 18,000 hours over a 30 year career. I drank coffee and/or tea every day, and lived to tell about it. My only complaint was the occasional time when maintenance didn’t do a thorough job of rinsing out the chlorine they used to disinfect the tank.

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