Your Favorite Airlines Could Have Contaminated Water, Study Says

November 7, 2019
A study shows that water on airplanes may not be safe to use.

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If you regularly order coffee, hot tea, or a plain old cup of water while flying, you may want to give it another thought. A recent study conducted by and the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center suggests that several major airlines could possibly have E.coli present in their water.

The study ranked major and regional airlines using a 0 to 5 scale (5 being the best and 0 being the worst) determining water safety based on 10 standards including "airline fleet size; the presence of coliform bacteria or E. coli in the water; and the amount of times they’ve violated the federal government’s Aircraft Drinking Water Rule," Yahoo reports.

“An aircraft flies to numerous destinations and may pump drinking water into its tanks from various sources at domestic and international locations,” the study states. “The water quality onboard also depends on the safety of the equipment used to transfer the water, such as water cabinets, trucks, carts and hoses.”

Of all major airlines, Spirit and JetBlue ranked the worst with a 1 out of 5. Republic Airways, which is the parent company for United Express, Delta Connection and American Eagle flights, ranked lowest for regional airlines scoring a mere 0.44 out of 5.

“Alaska Airlines and Allegiant win the top spot with the safest water in the sky, and Hawaiian Airlines finishes No. 2,” said Charles Platkin, PhD, JD, MPH, the executive director of the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center, in a press release.

View the entire study here.

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