Air travel is draining, and usually requires a cup or coffee (or tea) or two, but you probably want to get your fix before boarding your flight. Flight attendants — the people I like to take my plane advice from — do not and will not drink the hot coffee, tea, or water served on planes because that water comes from the tap, and plane tap water can be quite gross.
According to a video by published by Business Insider, the EPA found that one in eight planes failed to meet the “industry standards” for drinking water and that some plane tap water was contaminated with salmonella and “even insect eggs”.
(I could not find exactly how many insect eggs were in the water, or what an “acceptable” amount of insect eggs in tap water would be, but it doesn’t sound great.)
When BI reached out to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (the flight attendant’s union for comment, they did not seem impressed with the way tap water is handled on planes:
Water onboard is regulated under the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure safe drinking water on the aircraft,” the The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told >Business Insider.
“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.”
Does this mean drinking the plane coffee will instantly render you ill? Probably not, but Dr. Cedric Spak, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor University Medical Center, told NBC that people with compromised immune systems should probably avoid it. If you find yourself in dire need of more caffeine mid-flight, and wish to not gamble with bacteria and insect eggs, maybe get a Diet Coke or some other sealed, caffeinated beverage.
Here’s why flight attendants avoid drinking tap water on aeroplanes | Business Insider