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Do not drink the water on planes and actually don't even touch it. 

A 2019 Airline Water Study conducted by Hunter College NYC Food Policy Canter and DietDetective.com investigated the water quality on 23 different U.S. airlines. According to the alarming results, many airlines allegedly provide passengers with unhealthy water.

water on plane

The study, evaluated 10 major and 13 regional airlines. According to the website, it gave a 0-5 score, with 5 being the best, based on 10 criteria, including “fleet size, ADWR violations, positive E. coli and coliform water sample reports and cooperation in providing answer to water-quality questions.”

“A score of 3.0 or better indicates that the airline has relatively safe, clean water,” the study shared.

Alaska Airlines and Allegiant are the two major airlines that received the highest Airline Water Health Scores, each with a 3.3. Hawaiian comes in second with a 3.1.

However, the lowest scoring major airlines were Spirit and JetBlue, each with a score of 1.

The results concluded that nearly all regional airlines, with the exception of Piedmont, have poor scores and several ADWR violations.

 The 2019 Airline Water Study also found that the Environmental Protection Agency – one of the federal agencies responsible for ensuring safe aircraft drinking water– rarely levies fines to airlines in violation of the ADWR. 

The authors of the sudy advised passengers with upcoming flights to:

  • NEVER drink any water onboard that isn’t in a sealed bottle, 
  • Do not drink coffee or tea onboard, 
  • Do not wash your hands in the bathroom; bring hand-sanitizer with you instead.  

Keep in mind that most airlines serve only bottled water and it's not like the flight attendant is filling your cup from the bathroom sink.  Even ice is brought in from catering before each flight. 

There remains a huge question mark when it comes to the tea and coffee. I asked one of the flight attendants on my most recent flight “Do you drink the coffee and tea on board?”

She politely responded “No”.

Sources: Fox, DietDetective

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