Ok let’s be honest here…airplane food is not the best. It has definitely improved throughout the years, but no one is excited to eat on a plane. Food and beverages are a struggle for airlines. What you are served usually falls into one of 2 categories: underwhelming or inedible. And then there is airplane coffee and tea. It sounds like an ok idea…but IT IS NOT. The cleanliness of hot beverages on airlines is questionable.

According to a study at the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center in 2018, you should probably avoid tap water on a plane at all costs. Several researchers believe there are harmful bacteria in the water such as H Pylori, coliform, and even E. coli. The Environmental Protection Agency, in 2012, found that 1 in 12 planes are contaminated with E. coli. FYI…E. coli comes from poop. Yup you read that correctly…P-O-O-P. There has been speculation that the water is recycled water.

The EPA, FDA, and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) implemented a water rule called the Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, which is great news! It requires planes to routinely disinfect and flush the water systems. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen as much as it should or as much as you think it does. A study done by the EPA found that 1 in 8 planes failed the agency’s water standards.

Here are the reasons why you should skip coffee and tea on your next flight:

#1 The water used is just disgusting.

#2 The water can contain bacteria such as H pylori, coliform, or E. coli.

#3 Regardless of the coffee bean quality, you can’t make great coffee without great water. You are not getting great water on an airplane.

#4 A lot of airlines treat their water with chemical disinfectants like chlorine dioxide.

#5 A lot of airlines use carbon water filters, which actually reduce the quality of water by harboring microbes and reduce chlorine levels.

Long story short, skip anything on an airplane that has tap water in it such as coffee or tea. Pick a beverage that comes out of a can or a bottle or grab your favorite coffee drink at the airport before getting on your flight. We promise it’s a wise decision.