Why you should never order coffee or tea on a plane

Eliza Velk
Junior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

When it comes to flying, you might want to rethink your usual order of coffee or tea after a flight attendant’s confession about the hot water has left us feeling a little uneasy.

Most disturbingly, the attendant admitted to Vice that they once found E. coli in the water.

The hot water used for coffee and tea on planes is, “the same potable water that goes through the bathroom system,” they said.

“We recently had a test for E. coli in our water and it didn’t pass, and then maintenance came on and hit a couple buttons and it passed. So, avoid any hot water or tea.”

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It’s something other flight attendants have spoken out about in the past, too.

“I personally would not drink the potable water from the aircraft. So the tea, coffee… I would avoid,” ex-cabin crew member adrianne456 revealed on Reddit last year. “The water isn’t so bad but how often do you really think those tanks are cleaned?”

Tank cleaning appears to be the main issue, with the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA in the US revealing it’s up to the discretion of the airlines how often they test the water.

You might not be able to taste it but the hot water for tea and coffee actually comes from the same system used for the bathroom water. Source: Getty

“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 Association told Business Insider in a statement.

“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.”

In that case, you might want to stick to juice.


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