Traveling is often stressful, and traveling by airplane is no exception. First, you have to get through the security line. Then, make it to your gate in time to board the plane, hoping that there aren’t any crying babies seated next to you.
When you finally get to your seat, you might feel claustrophobic, or perhaps you’re looking forward to relaxing and getting out that book you’ve been meaning to read. Whatever the case, we know that one of the things we look forward to is when the flight attendant hands us a snack and takes our drink order.
We don’t have a regular drink order. It depends on the time of the flight and what we’re in the mood for that day. Sometimes it’s juice. Sometimes it’s soda. Sometimes it used to be coffee, but never again.
If you’ve ever ordered tea or coffee on an airplane, we’re pretty sure you won’t make that mistake ever again after learning about this new study released by the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center and DietDetective.com.
The study involved taking samples of water from airlines and testing the water for things like E. coli and coliform bacteria. The water quality was ranked from 0 to 5 with 0 being the worst and 5 being the best. Anything above a 3 was considered generally safe, but below that, not so much.
The highest rating when to Piedmont Airlines, the operator of some American Eagle flights. This airline received a 4.3. Next up, Allegiant and Alaska both received a 3.3. Finally, Hawaiian received a 3.1.
Jumping to the other end of the spectrum, Spirit and JetBlue both received a measly score of 1, but they weren’t the worst. Republic Airways (which operates flights for Delta Connection, American Eagle and United Express) received the lowest score at 0.44.
Here are the drinking water scores for all the major airlines:
Alaska Airlines, 3.3
Hawaiian Airlines, 3.1
Frontier Airlines, 2.6
Southwest Airlines, 2.4
Delta Airlines, 1.6
American Airlines, 1.5
United Airlines, 1.2
Spirit Airlines, 1
Here are the drinking water scores for the regional airlines:
Piedmont Airlines (operates as American Eagle, owned by American Airlines), 4.33
Sun Country Airlines, 2.78
Envoy Airlines (operates as American Eagle, owned by American Airlines), 2.11
GoJet Airlines (operates as United Express, Delta Connection), 2
Trans States Airlines (operates as United Express), 1.78
Compass Airlines (operates as Delta Connection and American Eagle), 1.22
Mesa Airlines (operates as United Express and American Eagle), 1.22
PSA Airlines (operates as American Eagle and owned by American Airlines), 1.22
SkyWest Airlines (operates as United Express, Delta Connection, American Eagle, Alaska SkyWest) 1.11
Endeavor Airlines (operates as Delta Connection owned Delta Air Lines), 0.78
Air Wisconsin Airlines (operates as United Express), 0.67
ExpressJet Airlines (operates as United Express), 0.56
Republic Airlines (operates as United Express, Delta Connection, American Eagle), 0.44
The takeaway? Don’t drink the water on an airplane unless it comes from a sealed bottle. That means don’t drink the coffee or tea that is prepared with water on an airplane. Don’t even wash your hands on an airplane. It’s safer to use hand sanitizer. Don’t even think about brushing your teeth on an airplane.
We think we’ll be buying coffee in the terminal before boarding the plane from now on.
Does it surprise you that airplane water isn’t safe to drink or even touch? Have you ordered coffee or tea on an airplane before?