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Why You Should Never Order Tap Water on a Plane

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Cup or glass of water on a flight. Travel by plane, table with drink.

By Morgan Cutolo, Reader's Digest

The one thing people always tell you to do before you fly is to hydrate. Hydrate at home, hydrate in the airport, and hydrate on the plane. Well, you might want to stock up on water while you’re still on the ground because a new study revealed that the tap water on planes isn’t very sanitary. Watch out for these foods you should never eat on an airplane.

The Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center and DietDetective.com released an Airline Food Study investigating the quality of the food on 11 different airlines. This year, the study reviewed water safety criteria as well.

Back in 2011, the EPA instituted the Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (ADWR) to 'ensure that safe and reliable drinking water is provided to aircraft passengers and crew,' but that rule doesn’t go far enough. The tap water served to customers and used to make coffee in tea is stored in water tanks that are not cleaned very often causing the water to be contaminated with bacteria. Read up on the airlines with the best and worst food.

A year after they put that rule in effect, one out of every ten planes still tested positive for coliform in their water. The Airline Food Study released in 2018 showed that not much has changed. You might think that the water tanks would be emptied and cleaned at least once a day but instead, they sit for long periods of time in contaminated tanks.

So, make sure you stock up on bottled water (and coffee or tea) while you’re still in the airport—it could save you from a ruined vacation. Next, read about these 18 other things you should never do on an airplane.

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