Let’s face it–flying is pretty much a germaphobe’s worst nightmare. To start with, it requires passengers to be stuck in a tiny vessel for hours on end, breathing in one another’s recycled air. Of course, it seems that every time we board a plane, we just so happen to end up seated next to someone who is sneezing uncontrollably and maybe, just maybe, might be suffering from the bubonic plague. Oh, and don’t even get us started on the bathrooms. Bleh!

But, all of the obviously disgusting stuff aside, one of the most repulsive aspects of flying is the harmful bacteria that lurks in those disposable coffee cups.

Yep, we said, “disposable coffee cups…”

As it turns out, all of you high-flying java drinkers might be unwittingly chugging down germs galore every time you order a cup of joe on the plane. This is because the very water that airlines use to make their coffee is the same that comes from the plane’s water tank, a place that, according to some experts, just doesn’t get cleaned as often as it should.

It’s a repulsive thought that somehow makes airplane coffee taste nastier than it already does! This woman knows what we’re talking about…


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when the coffee is so bad you don’t want to smell, see, or taste it… but have to finish it #airplanecoffee

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While we can all agree on the fact that airplane coffee is about as bitter and heartburn-inducing as it gets, let’s not forget why we’re here in the first place–the drink can actually make you sick!

Dr. Charles Platkin, Ph.D. and executive director of the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center references a 2018 study in which airline food as a whole is investigated. Spoiler alert: the findings don’t make the good doc trust airline water any more than he did before!

In an expose published in the Diet Detective, he writes:

It’s probably best to avoid drinking water from the tap on a plane, which also means staying away from coffee and tea [because] there are a couple of reliable researchers who believe there may be harmful bacteria in airline water. This is probably because the water tanks are not emptied very often (you would think they’d be emptied and cleaned at least once a day, but this is not so). So water is just sitting for long periods of time in what appear to be not-so-clean tanks. 

We think it’s definitely time to start splurging on a $5 cup of Starbucks coffee in the terminal. It might not be light on the wallet, but it just might be lighter on your digestive tract!

To learn even more about this disturbing, airline-related revelation, be sure to watch the video below.

We’d love to hear your take on this scary coffee fact! Are you surprised that the water tanks of airplanes are so dirty? Do you work for an airline? If so, do you know of any other items that passengers should stop eating or drinking?