The Gross Reason You'll Never Want To Drink Coffee Or Tea On A Plane Again

By Dave Basner

December 5, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

It's no secret that there are some dirty parts of a plane. The seat-back pockets have held plenty of nasty items and aren't often cleaned, and the tray tables and seatbelts often aren't sanitary either. Then you have passengers with awful habits like putting bare feet on arm rests or drying bathing suits on their seats. But one flight attendant has revealed something particularly disgusting that goes on in the friendly skies, and if you or a loved one ever drinks coffee or tea on planes, you'll want to know about it.

There have been studies that the water on many planes is unsafe due to bacteria, since the tanks that hold the water are rarely cleaned, so already it might be risky to get coffee or tea onboard if they aren't using bottled water, but even if they do use water from bottles, there is a far more disturbing issue, and a flight attendant named Kevin shared what the gross problem is on TikTok.

He explained that the lack of cleaning the tanks "should be the least of your concerns" and went on to reveal that for some reason, flight attendants can't pour coffee into the plane's drains and are instructed to instead dispose of it in the toilet. He added, "So when you take a coffee pot and dump it in the toilet, in order to not make a huge mess everywhere, you kind of have to get a little close to the toilet, and I imagine that there's some kind of backsplash of particles, bacteria, or whatever, that goes directly back into the coffee pot, which goes back into the coffee maker. So unless the airline that you're flying has an espresso maker on the plane, I would not get regular drip coffee."

Commenters were horrified by the revelation. One wrote, "I'm traumatized," and another added, "Every single day my OCD is justified." Someone else said, "Sir, thank you for your service never drinking airplane coffee again!" while one more wrote, "I always cringe when I see people order coffee on a plane."

While the problem might not be widespread - one flight attendant commented that they just dump coffee in the trash - if you want to be safe, Kevin suggests you get to the airport 10 minutes earlier than you normally would and just buy a coffee in the terminal.

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