Why flight attendants avoid airplane tap water

by Tech Insider

If you’re on an airplane and the food cart comes by — should you order any drinks?

We spoke to one flight attendant who told us, “Flight attendants will not drink hot water on the plane. They will not drink plain coffee, and they will not drink plain tea.”

An EPA study found that 1 in every 8 planes fails the agency’s standards for water safety. Watch the video above to see the whole story.

Business Insider reached out to a variety of groups and companies across the airline industry. Below are the statements they provided on airplane water safety:

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.”

Airlines for America:

“The safety of our passengers and crew remain the airlines’ primary focus, including the provision of clean drinking water. To meet customer preferences, airlines typically provide bottled water while also ensuring water available through the aircraft onboard water systems is safe. Airlines work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that water received from municipalities for onboard systems is safe and to maintain that safety by following rigorous sampling and management requirements once received. ”

Delta and American Airlines:

Declined to comment.


“At Southwest Airlines, the Safety of our Customers and Employees is always our number one priority, so we have developed a robust program to assure our aircraft water systems and water delivery equipment meet or exceed all requirements. The success of our program is demonstrated by the fact that Southwest has achieved one of the best compliance records in the industry. We are committed to the Safety and well-being of our Customers and Employees, and we work diligently to disinfect our aircraft water systems quarterly and monitor water quality through annual testing of all our aircraft in accordance with EPA requirements. We believe that the favorable results achieved by Southwest are a result of great work by our Employees, who are well trained and understand the need for following our established program. We are committed to the safety and well-being of our Customers and Employees, and that includes high quality, safe drinking water.”