The Essentials

Water on Airplanes: What You Need to Know


The next time you’re on a plane and the flight attendant is walking down the aisle handing out cups of water — as thirsty and dehydrated as you might be — think twice.

Did that water come from a sealed bottle or from the airplanes holding tanks?

The 2019 airline water study, by Hunter College’s NYC Food Policy Center, reveals that holding tank water quality varies wildly by airline.

So who has the safest water in the sky?

Alaska Airlines and Allegiant win the prize.

And the worst scores went to JetBlue and Spirit. And that violates the federal government’s aircraft drinking water rule.

There’s a simple solution. Unless you see the flight attendant crack open a sealed bottle, assume the water in those cups is from the holding tanks and avoid drinking it.

One exception is coffee, because the water is boiled.