Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
NYC-air
Topic Author
Posts: 164
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2000 6:59 am

In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:31 pm

Was reading this BBC article: What airline pilots won't tell you

and saw this quote:

"The same anonymous pilot advised passengers to steer clear of the brown stuff onboard. 'The potable water the aircraft is serviced with is absolutely disgusting,' he said. 'Chemicals are inserted into the water tanks to prevent bad things from growing, but the bad taste of the coffee isn't the coffee – it’s the chemicals."

What does everyone think?

[Edited 2013-11-09 12:47:33 by SA7700]
 
txkf2010
Posts: 208
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:10 am

In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:43 pm

100% agree. Just did a water test the other day that had no chlorine and perfect pH of 7. BA then complained about it because their was no noticeable chlorine smell/taste...
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:03 pm

Unless they're pouring bottled water straight into the brewer (some of the brewers have this option), there's no way I'd drink the coffee on a plane. Years ago I worked at AirTran and we had two small pickup trucks that had been modified into water trucks by putting a tank in the bed of the truck and putting a water pump in the floor of the passenger side of the truck. The water tank often had gunk growing in it as it would sit out in the sun partially filled and that was a breeding ground for stuff. Not to mention the state of those potable water tanks, especially on older planes.
 
AA737-823
Posts: 5537
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 11:10 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:33 pm

Allow me to rain on your collective parades.

We sanitize the potable water tank way more often than even I think is necessary, and I'm quite the germophobe.
Further, we have to rinse the chemical out (which, incidentally, is the SAME CHEMICAL as what you find in your tap water), until all of the coffee makers and sinks run clear. We have to use test strips, and the strips must be inspected by the QC department before the task is signed off.

Quoting srbmod (Reply 2):
we had two small pickup trucks that had been modified into water trucks

We're required to sanitize those tanks routinely, as well. Same process.


Move along folks, just more alarmist media, or perhaps a pilot who has discovered his retirement package isn't big enough to buy that third "cottage" in Waikiki.

This is almost as silly as the belief that airplane air if full of dust, germs, and other things which will surely kill you if you're foolish enough to breathe on planes. HEPA filtration, folks...
 
User avatar
einsteinboricua
Posts: 8653
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:11 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:55 pm

Since I dislike American coffee, I don't have much of a problem with this. Besides, even if the water is contaminated, I suppose boiling it will reduce/eliminate a great number of germs. Isn't that what we're told when there's a water emergency?
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:59 pm

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):
Move along folks, just more alarmist media, or perhaps a pilot who has discovered his retirement package isn't big enough to buy that third "cottage" in Waikiki.

Here's some more "alarmist media" for you:

‘High’ percentage of airplanes still serve contaminated water

Quote:
In 2004, the EPA found that the water in one in every 10 planes (15%) tested positive for coliform. While this kind of bacteria doesn't necessarily make you sick, it is often an indicator that there are other harmful bacteria present.
The 2012 data, which NBC's Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that 12% of the airplanes had water with at least one positive test for coliform.
6 places germs breed in a plane


This is not a new issue either, here's a piece from Travel & Leisure from December 1998:

Airplane Report: Think Before You Drink

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 5):

Since I dislike American coffee, I don't have much of a problem with this. Besides, even if the water is contaminated, I suppose boiling it will reduce/eliminate a great number of germs. Isn't that what we're told when there's a water emergency?

You have to boil water for at least 10 minutes (that's what we used to do when backpacking and didn't want to use those nasty tablets to purify water); the thing is that the onboard coffee brewers do not boil the water, the water gets close to the boiling point, but not close enough to kill all potential contaminates.

[Edited 2013-11-09 15:02:51]
 
Natflyer
Posts: 655
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:29 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:17 pm

After 30 years of drinking lots of airplane coffee, I am not too concerned. When we have been operating outside our normal area, there have been restrictions on where we have picked up water. Never had any issues with it and no crewmember / passenger to my knowledge. Hyped up.
 
johns624
Posts: 3654
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:22 am

Quoting srbmod (Reply 6):
You have to boil water for at least 10 minutes (that's what we used to do when backpacking and didn't want to use those nasty tablets to purify water

One minute will do it. Most backpackers use a water purifier nowadays.
 
ArmitageShanks
Posts: 3780
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2003 5:30 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:52 am

Quoting johns624 (Reply 8):
One minute will do it. Most backpackers use a water purifier nowadays.

I read a study this summer (I'll try and find it) where just heating the water until its hot or letting it sit in bottles exposed to the sun is almost just as effective as filters/boiling. When I hike and camp I use a katadyn hiker pro.
 
ATLTPA
Posts: 73
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 5:24 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:02 am

Quoting Natflyer (Reply 7):
After 30 years of drinking lots of airplane coffee, I am not too concerned.

Here, here! I am not worried about this, either.

Next...

ATLTPA
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:10 am

Quoting johns624 (Reply 8):
One minute will do it. Most backpackers use a water purifier nowadays.

20+ years ago, purifiers were still pretty pricey for the average person (especially if you only went backpacking a few times a year for a few days) and 10 minutes boil time was what pretty much all guides said to do. Back then it was either boil the water or use those nasty tablets (Which if I did use them, I mixed in some drink mix to mask the taste.). I usually lugged around a 2L soda bottle filled with water that I froze prior to the trip and used it for drinking water and boiled any water used for cooking.
 
JAAlbert
Posts: 1980
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:43 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:12 am

Yes, probably all hyped up alarmist stuff --hundreds of passengers fall ill on cruise ships all the time, but you don't often hear of multiple passengers falling ill on planes - and certainly not from water borne illness. Still, the coffee served on planes IS awful!
 
User avatar
TZTriStar500
Posts: 891
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 1:33 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:37 am

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):
We sanitize the potable water tank way more often than even I think is necessary, and I'm quite the germophobe.
Further, we have to rinse the chemical out (which, incidentally, is the SAME CHEMICAL as what you find in your tap water), until all of the coffee makers and sinks run clear. We have to use test strips, and the strips must be inspected by the QC department before the task is signed off.
Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):
We're required to sanitize those tanks routinely, as well. Same process.

Absolutely correct sir. I have worked for two airlines since the new rules were starting to be put in place and have dealt with the respective airline programs. For all who are not aware, new US EPA rules for aircraft drinking water have been put in place and mandated for all airlines since 2009.

http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/airlinewater/

Quoting srbmod (Reply 5):
Here's some more "alarmist media" for you:

‘High’ percentage of airplanes still serve contaminated water

Quote:
In 2004, the EPA found that the water in one in every 10 planes (15%) tested positive for coliform. While this kind of bacteria doesn't necessarily make you sick, it is often an indicator that there are other harmful bacteria present.
The 2012 data, which NBC's Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that 12% of the airplanes had water with at least one positive test for coliform.
6 places germs breed in a plane


This is not a new issue either, here's a piece from Travel & Leisure from December 1998:

Airplane Report: Think Before You Drink

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 5):

Since I dislike American coffee, I don't have much of a problem with this. Besides, even if the water is contaminated, I suppose boiling it will reduce/eliminate a great number of germs. Isn't that what we're told when there's a water emergency?

You have to boil water for at least 10 minutes (that's what we used to do when backpacking and didn't want to use those nasty tablets to purify water); the thing is that the onboard coffee brewers do not boil the water, the water gets close to the boiling point, but not close enough to kill all potential contaminates.

You are being 'alarmist' without knowing all the facts here. Your references are old. Airlines don't operate that way anymore. In a nutshell, at F9 the testing of aircraft ground tanks are frequent and if any positive is found, the aircraft water is shut off. The aircraft system is thoroughly cleaned as AA737-823 mentioned and a clean specimen tested by an approved lab before that aircraft's system can be reactivated.
35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:42 am

Quoting TZTriStar500 (Reply 12):
Your references are old.

The first article is from LAST MONTH!!!!! The second one from 2010, and the last one (as I clearly indicated to show that this is something that has been previously written about in the past) was from 1998, which while 15 years old, was clearly relevant today.
 
ORDJOE
Posts: 684
Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:27 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:43 am

Why is this we are always hearing of how someones friend of a friend of their second cousin pilot talk about how if we drink that water we have explosive diarrhea if we drink the water.
Coliforms can show up in any water source, again it all depends on how much you find
why do not here about more fines on this if it is not bad
I have drank the coffee and water plenty of times and been fine.
 
User avatar
TZTriStar500
Posts: 891
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 1:33 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:56 am

Quoting srbmod (Reply 13):
The first article is from LAST MONTH!!!!! The second one from 2010, and the last one (as I clearly indicated to show that this is something that has been previously written about in the past) was from 1998, which while 15 years old, was clearly relevant today.


You are correct about the NY Daily News article, but its not telling the entire truth. No tap water is served to passengers nor is that allowed. Go into a lavatory and tell me you do not see a placard that its prohibited. Yes, its used for coffee, but I still fail to see how this is a major issue. There have not been major illness outbreaks here. The CNN article is no longer relevant as it states "And in October 2011, the EPA's Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, with more standardized, stringent disinfection and inspection regulations, will go into effect." Its even full of nonsense, no airliner that I am aware of has the capability to make ice! And, tell me how a 15 year old Travel & Leisure article has any relevance as its pre EPA' Aircraft Drinking Water Rule.
35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
 
kaitakfan
Posts: 1547
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 1999 1:04 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:22 am

I do not care how much the MX guys praise the cleaning process of potable water. Numerous times my hands smell like metal after washing them in the lav sink and twice this year my potable water system was inop due to failing the Caliform test. Even if the water was as clean as the apologist like to say, it still is the worst coffee out there. So what if its free. How about I give you half of a tuna sandwich that has sat out at room temp for 5 hours for free? That's about the same value you get with free airplane coffee.
 
nutsaboutplanes
Posts: 545
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:37 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:24 am

Quoting JAAlbert (Reply 11):
Still, the coffee served on planes IS awful!

I really like airplane coffee! I also love the stale coffee smell of an aircraft when you enter the cabin of an aircraft from the jetway  
American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, USAFR
 
brilondon
Posts: 3164
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 6:56 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:13 am

I know that it is not an issue as how many people fly and drink coffee without incident? I have not heard of any problems with their, the airlines, water.
Rush forever Closer To My Heart
 
AA737-823
Posts: 5537
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 11:10 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:36 am

This is not a discussion about whether airplane coffee is to someone's liking.
If you're convinced that airplane water is so dangerous, then by all means, don't drink it.
But you should probably avoid ANY AND ALL fast food or restaurant soft drinks, because the ice bins in those places are routinely moldy and malodorous.
Meanwhile, I'm sanitizing a drinking water tank every 28 days, running it all the way through the airplanes plumbing, and then a ramper services the tank from a similarly sanitized truck with treated city water.
And you're telling me my planes are dangerous.
Fine. Fill your water bottle from the water fountain in the terminal, then. No telling WHEN that water fountain last had its internal plumbing sanitized.
 
User avatar
readytotaxi
Posts: 7894
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 2:09 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:37 am

All of the above is the reason I only drink alcohol on a plane.   
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
Growing older, but not up.
 
User avatar
vhtje
Posts: 1298
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:40 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:48 am

I'm more worried about the revolting 'creamer' AA insists on serving with its coffee, rather than the water with which the coffee was made.

I mean, have you ever seen the list of ingredients in Coffee Mate? No way am I ingesting that rubbish. Why, oh why, can't AA offer plain milk?

Ergo, when I'm on AA I drink black coffee.
I only turn left when boarding aircraft. Well, mostly. All right, sometimes. OH OKAY - rarely.
 
strfyr51
Posts: 5106
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:04 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:09 pm

I work for United and it wouldn't make ANY difference drinking our coffee, It's just plain LOUSY! but We DO keep our tanks clean and take our system cleaning SERIOUSLY (as well as the US Dept of Health who have NO trouble grounding ours nor anybody else's airplaned over water contamination !!
 
thrufru
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:48 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:24 pm

Why is it that people will accept the words of a few articles as the rule of law, but when offered counter evidence are entirely dismissive? I agree that much of the aforementioned "information" is alarmist. How many situations do we encounter on a daily basis that could prove detrimental to our well-being? Countless, no doubt. How many actually turn out to actually have an effect? Very few. This is one of those situations. I for one am not going to walk through (or in this case, fly through) life with bottled water, a face mask, booties and gloves. Life is about managed risk and making choices. I think drinking "airplane coffee" is pretty darned low risk, and I'll continue to drink it at work every day.
 
evomutant
Posts: 377
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 8:47 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:32 pm

I think some of the high and mightiers are kind of missing the point.

The original article never said it was dangerous. They said it tasted disgusting (which it does) as a direct result of stringent efforts to stop it being dangerous.
 
User avatar
ual747den
Posts: 1604
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2003 1:29 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:48 pm

I say grab your Starbucks in the terminal and you have nothing to worry about! I haven't really thought about this aspect of the coffee on board the aircraft however just for some reason have never taken a cup of coffee while flying. We are now so much more "spoiled" having good coffee so readily available that I don't even find the coffee maker at home being used unless we are having guests over that want a cup of the "old" coffee.
Like I said in the beginning ill just stick to my Starbucks and not worry about what's in the water. That is what I do at home so flying just isn't really any different to me.
Frontier Airlines - Low Fares Done Right
 
User avatar
ual747den
Posts: 1604
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2003 1:29 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:51 pm

BTW the red cups are back at Starbucks which also means the peppermint mocha is back for the season, with that around who wants anything different anyways!!!!
Frontier Airlines - Low Fares Done Right
 
User avatar
aerdingus
Posts: 2720
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:58 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:14 pm

We don't have coffee makers, just water boilers. Nothing too offensive save for a bit of limescale, but that's even on the kettle in my house.

But yeah I mostly stick to prosecco/whiskey when I fly as a pax  
A306 A313 A319 A320 A321 A333 A346 A359 ATR42 ATR72 B734 B737 B738 B744 B772 B789 C152 MD80 RJ85 S340
 
User avatar
einsteinboricua
Posts: 8653
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:11 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:35 pm

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 19):
This is not a discussion about whether airplane coffee is to someone's liking.

Then the title of the thread shouldn't include coffee...besides, to make airplane coffee you need airplane water. If you don't like the coffee you're effectively saying that you couldn't care less about the water quality.

Frankly, I'd be more concerned about the ice and where they get it from. Even in restaurants, tests found that the ice was dirtier than toilet water.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:57 pm

Quoting TZTriStar500 (Reply 15):
No tap water is served to passengers nor is that allowed.

Planes aren't filled from some special water source, they use the same water sources as everyone else at an airport, the local water supply. So the water in the potable water tank is the local tap water of the airport it was filled at. The thing is that water quality varies from place to place and some places have some nasty tasting water. Not to mention that some airlines still rely on water trucks (instead of water lines integrated into the jetways) whose level of maintenance and sanitation may vary.

Quoting thrufru (Reply 23):

Why is it that people will accept the words of a few articles as the rule of law, but when offered counter evidence are entirely dismissive? I agree that much of the aforementioned "information" is alarmist. How many situations do we encounter on a daily basis that could prove detrimental to our well-being? Countless, no doubt. How many actually turn out to actually have an effect? Very few. This is one of those situations. I for one am not going to walk through (or in this case, fly through) life with bottled water, a face mask, booties and gloves. Life is about managed risk and making choices. I think drinking "airplane coffee" is pretty darned low risk, and I'll continue to drink it at work every day.

Some of us worked in the industry in the past and have our own personal experiences to fall back on. While the way things were done at the airline(s) some of us worked at may have been atypical compared to other airlines, that doesn't necessary mean that it perhaps isn't happening at other airlines.
 
nclmedic
Posts: 169
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 9:25 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:02 pm

I really don't see the problem here. Airlines/train companies have been serving hot drinks using potable water since well before I was born and I don't see vast swathes of people being struck down with cholera.
 
BC77008
Posts: 469
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:48 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:28 pm

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 4):
Since I dislike American coffee

Explain to me what is American coffee??? Are you talking about not liking coffee served in the USA or not liking the coffee served on American Airlines?

Quoting nutsaboutplanes (Reply 17):
I really like airplane coffee! I also love the stale coffee smell of an aircraft when you enter the cabin of an aircraft from the jetway

I LOVE that smell! I wish Fabreze could make it into an air freshener.
MY favorite airline and hub is bigger and/or better than YOUR favorite airline and hub!
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:49 pm

Quoting BC77008 (Reply 31):
Explain to me what is American coffee??? Are you talking about not liking coffee served in the USA or not liking the coffee served on American Airlines?

He's likely referring to the preferred brewing method and typical coffee blends used here in the US for coffee. Drip-brewed coffee is often referred to as "American" coffee since that is the widely used method for brewing coffee here. Elsewhere in the world, they use other methods like vacuum pots, moka pots, French press pots, or "socks" (which are muslin bags in which coffee grounds are placed and steeped in hot water. The typical coffee blend in the US is a mild-to-medium roast that often is blended with cheaper robusta beans alongside arabica beans. Other parts of the world prefer a darker roast, which is something that most Americans do not have a taste for (although places like Starbuck's have gotten Americans into some darker roasts, plus many folks don't realized that the espresso-based drinks they order use a darker roast coffee as well). Americans are getting more educated about good coffee and good coffee preparation techniques, but people still want their coffee quickly and don't want to take the time needed to make a really good cup of coffee.
 
JFKL1011
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:16 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:13 pm

Good grief....put down the the clorox wipes and back away from the purell. Our bodies will have a much easier time staving off infections if we all stop worrying so much about breathing in dust and having a few gulps of that hot mystery brew in the sky!!
So many places to fly and increasingly so few interesting aircraft to get there on.
 
User avatar
einsteinboricua
Posts: 8653
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:11 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:02 pm

Quoting srbmod (Reply 32):
Quoting BC77008 (Reply 31):
Explain to me what is American coffee??? Are you talking about not liking coffee served in the USA or not liking the coffee served on American Airlines?

He's likely referring to the preferred brewing method and typical coffee blends used here in the US for coffee.

What he said. If I were referring to AA's coffee I would have used 'AA' or "American Airlines's"

Here's your different varieties of coffee
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
thrufru
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:48 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:09 pm

Quoting srbmod (Reply 29):
Some of us worked in the industry in the past and have our own personal experiences to fall back on. While the way things were done at the airline(s) some of us worked at may have been atypical compared to other airlines, that doesn't necessary mean that it perhaps isn't happening at other airlines.

Some of us work in the industry today.

The point is that it is unfair to accept the empirical evidence of an "anonymous pilot" from the originally linked article or frankly from any of the posters on this forum as fact or standard operating procedures and completely dismiss any statement that contravenes those words. For every person who claims that the potable water in an aircraft is unpalatable or nasty, one can easily find just as many counterclaimants.

I can also state from personal experience that if I'm preflighting an aircraft that is being serviced, I'll give a cursory inspection to the equipment and speak with the employee. We do reject water service at some locations, but that's due more to the "ick" factor and baseless fears than any real evidence.
 
Apprentice
Posts: 778
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:51 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:36 pm

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):


Some companies may check the quality of stored water frequently, but not all companies do that and you still can get contaminated water loaded in some remote place. And Yes, I had seem reports of a/c water contaminated.

On top of toliets' water fuacets you will find a "Non Potable Water" sticker and guess what, is the same water used in the boilers except in some cases, a water filter like the one in your refri
“An4; IL18; IL6; Tu5; D10; MD11; MD83; B32; B34: B37; B744; B748; B752; B763; B772; B773; B77W; A320; A332; A333; A342; A343.
"A NO" is a positive answer., "DON'T KNOW" is not. My Tutor (a wise man)
“CUBANA” 90 years Flying”
 
nutsaboutplanes
Posts: 545
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:37 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:31 pm

The potable water servicing units and trucks must meet FDA standards and audits do happen. This is something that is very high on the list of ground ops management.
American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, USAFR
 
beachbum1970
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:24 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:23 pm

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 22):
I work for United and it wouldn't make ANY difference drinking our coffee, It's just plain LOUSY

United used to serve Starbucks Coffee on board back before the merger. The coffee they serve now is horrible. Any reason why they switched? And remember back in the day when UA served those cans of Frappuccinos?
 
pnwtraveler
Posts: 1074
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:12 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:54 pm

There are UV lights that can sterile the water as it passes to the spigot for filling the coffee pots. But the problem is that the airlines don't want to spend the extra dollars for the system and the weight cost of flying it around for years. Some airlines use bottled water for everything instead of carting around extra potable water in the tanks. Flying around with tanks of water also costs for the extra weight. If someone gets some intestinal problem the last thing they would think of blaming is the coffee in an airplane so simply saying there has been no problem I don't think would count as anything close to scientific. People believe what they are predisposed to whether it is accurate or not. So simply reading something they are suspicious of is enough for them to believe something is totally true. Look at the ice machines in hotels, restaurants and so on. People aren't dying right left and centre. But at the same time 1/2 to 3/4 of what people call the flu or a bug they picked up, isn't flu at all but rather some sort of intestinal bacterial or reaction to something eaten or drunk. It can take an hour or two to 48 hours to show up.
 
chrisair
Posts: 2204
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2000 11:32 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:58 pm

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 28):
Even in restaurants, tests found that the ice was dirtier than toilet water.

As someone who chews ice like it's going out of style, I don't really want to know this.  
Quoting beachbum1970 (Reply 38):
The coffee they serve now is horrible. Any reason why they switched?

Most likely money. If you want Starbucks coffee, fly AS or QX. Interestingly enough, QX has their coffee pre-brewed in insulated thermoses since their Q400s don't have water tanks.
 
AADC10
Posts: 1511
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2004 7:40 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:13 pm

I do not believe that anyone has been known to have become Ill from drinking the airplane coffee. It may taste lousy but I am sure the boilers kill off the bacteria and evaporate some of the chlorine. I believe there are special systems in the coffee makers to get the water to temperature at altitude as it would boil at too low a temperature otherwise. There may be dissolved solids that could lead to cancer or poisoning if consumed in large amounts but it would be difficult to trace solely to aircraft water.

The water tanks are probably not as clean as they were when there were passenger water dispensers in the cabins and cup in the lavatories but even not boiled there is probably enough chlorine in the water to kill off anything in it.
 
CX Flyboy
Posts: 6182
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 1999 6:10 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:18 pm

You are all talking about US airlines but spare a thought for those carriers from third world countries where flyability of the plane can be called into question. When their planes are maintained that badly I wonder how much effort is put into the onboard water quality.
 
USAIRWAYS321
Posts: 1730
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 4:31 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:40 pm

Quoting chrisair (Reply 40):
Interestingly enough, QX has their coffee pre-brewed in insulated thermoses since their Q400s don't have water tanks.

And it actually tastes good!
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:57 pm

Quoting chrisair (Reply 40):
QX has their coffee pre-brewed in insulated thermoses since their Q400s don't have water tanks.

When I worked for ASA, that's the way they did coffee as well. In the catering room, they had a giant coffee urn that held something like 10-12 Gallons and the catering crews would fill insulated containers they kept in the catering truck and would dump out and refill the containers onboard the a/c.

The only downside to this method is that the coffee may sit in the heated urns too long and get old and nasty. One plus with the thermal carafes and containers is that they maintain temperature without the coffee being exposed to a heat source in one area and keeps coffee fresher longer as direct heat (like the burner on a coffee machine) is one of the killers of a pot of coffee.
 
spartanmjf
Posts: 529
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:31 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:23 pm

Came across this one on the Nuts blog and it was interesting....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VgVyzADL1s
"Nuts to the man in 21D!"
 
User avatar
airportugal310
Posts: 3710
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2004 12:49 pm

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:37 am

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 4):

Since I'm not on to miss the obvious, only ONE US state grows coffee...my home state of Hawai'i

Kona coffee (10% blends to 100%) is well regarded.

So apart from that, what is "American coffee"??  
“They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.”
 
User avatar
RyanairGuru
Posts: 8640
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:59 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:53 am

Quoting Natflyer (Reply 6):
I am not too concerned

Exactly. I've been drinking airplane coffee for ... well, for ever, and never gotten ill. I also east at restaurants, and am not worried about food poisoning there either.

This isn't to say that I won't ever get ill, but the chance is so remote that I'm not concerned.

Quoting ArmitageShanks (Reply 8):
just heating the water until its hot

I thought that 80c was sufficient to kill of the vast majority of bacteria? I'm no scientist, though, so I could be very wrong there.

Quoting ual747den (Reply 25):
I say grab your Starbucks in the terminal and you have nothing to worry about
Quoting srbmod (Reply 32):
He's likely referring to the preferred brewing method and typical coffee blends used here in the US for coffee. Drip-brewed coffee is often referred to as "American" coffee since that is the widely used method for brewing coffee here

      

Here in Australia, "American coffee" is the standard term for this brewing technique (which, incidentally, most Australians have never heard of).

If you order coffee here then it will be espresso, which is the only way that an Australian would ever consider drinking the stuff. After all, this is the country that spends more per capita on home espresso machines than on refrigerators and washing machines combined (I didn't make that up!). Even if you only want black coffee then it will be espresso with water over it.

That said, I personally like "American coffee" which is why I like:

Quoting nutsaboutplanes (Reply 17):
I really like airplane coffee!

  

On an airplane is the only place I can get "American coffee" here  
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
opethfan
Posts: 940
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:35 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:00 am

When I lived in the UK, coffee was always instant. Not sure if that was just the people I associated with, or the lack of space in people's kitchens, but that was what I was used to.

In Canada people associate "coffee" with what the Americans do, although I like mine in a French press.

On AC as WS, I've noticed the coffee is weak like instant, but I barely notice since the cups are so small.

For a shorter flight I totally agree - grab a large cup of what you really like before you board. If you have any doubts about the quality, get a Coke for your caffeine fix instead.
 
User avatar
RyanairGuru
Posts: 8640
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:59 am

RE: In-flight Coffee / Quality Of Potable Water - Your Opinion?

Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:13 am

Quoting opethfan (Reply 48):
When I lived in the UK, coffee was always instant. Not sure if that was just the people I associated with, or the lack of space in people's kitchens, but that was what I was used to.

In Canada people associate "coffee" with what the Americans do

Having lived in Australia, the UK, and the USA, I find these differences in coffee drinking fascinating, even between relatively homogenous cultures.

I agree with your general synopsis. In the UK domestic coffee consumption was usually instant, whereas in the USA it is from one of those wonderful coffee makers. In Australia relatively few people drink coffee at home, and the number is shrinking with each passing generation. I'm 22, and of my friends (generally college students aged 18-24) I am the only person I know who drinks instant coffee. No joke. Several friends have espresso machines (the sort that take up half of the available kitchen surface space) and the rest only drink coffee while out. If they have to pour hot water over something at home then it is a tea bag, which is probably why Australia has the second highest per capita tea consumption in the world, after Ireland and - yes - ahead of the UK.
Worked Hard, Flew Right

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos