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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.
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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 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 who do, including my wife. However, I have a feeling she won’t be having her spot of tea on our next flight. Will you?
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