Travel Tips

Travel Tip: Water on Airplanes

Photo Credit: Jim Reynolds

I’m always encouraging you to drink water–to hydrate–when you fly. But I am also encouraging you to not drink the tap water that’s carried on your flight.

Back in 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency inspected the tap water of 158 aircrafts. In almost 13% of commercial planes in the U.S., the agency found E. coli, coliform and bacteria that did not meet EPA standards.

It then took the agency five years to enact their aircraft drinking water rule, which mandates that airlines inspect the water holding tanks of each plane, once every year.

An inspection only once a year is ridiculous. Since airplane water tanks are refilled in dozens of locations whenever the airplanes land, it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out all of the opportunities for contamination from local water sources around the world.

Short of ordering hot coffee, with the presumption that boiling water will kill most bacteria, take my advice. If you want to drink water on the plane, you better make sure you see the flight attendant crack open a bottle in front of you.

Photo Credit: Jim Reynolds

By Peter Greenberg for 


For more tips on drinking and eating on planes, check out:

The Problem With Drunk Airline Passengers

Healthy Travel Snacks For the Plane

Fruit on International Flights