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Study Shows Airline Water Unsafe for Drinking, Washing

Airlines have banned e-cigarettes, but apparently E. coli gets a pass. A study released by and Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center reveals that the water on all but three major airlines and one regional airline is not safe for consumption.

The 2019 Airline Water Study ranked the water quality of 23 major and regional airlines based on 10 criteria, “including fleet size, ADWR [Airline Drinking Water Rule] violations, positive E. coli and coliform water sample reports and cooperation in providing answers to water-quality questions.” From there, airlines were given a score of 0 to 5, with 5 being the highest rating and 3 or higher indicating the water is considered safe. The results?

Let’s just say you’re going to want to pass on that glass of water or cup of coffee the next time you’re cruising at 35,000 feet.

The only three major airlines to pass the safety test are Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines with scores of 3.3, 3.3, and 3.1 respectively. The only regional airline to pass is Piedmont Airlines (operating American Eagle flights), which scores 4.33.

The lowest scoring major airlines? Spirit and JetBlue, each with a score of 1. You may be able to get a cheap flight, but you might die of dysentery once you reach your destination.

I don’t know about anybody else, but while I’m glad somebody passed the test, any amount of water contamination is too much water contamination for my taste.

Bottom line? The organizations that released the study recommend passengers take the following steps while in the air to ensure maximum safety:

  • NEVER drink any water onboard that isn’t in a sealed bottle,
  • Do not drink coffee or tea onboard,
  • Do not wash your hands in the bathroom; bring hand-sanitizer with you instead.

Wondering how your favorite airline performed? Here’s the breakdown.

Major airlines:

  • Alaska Airlines: 3.3
  • Allegiant Air: 3.3
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 3.1
  • Frontier Airlines: 2.6
  • Southwest Airlines: 2.4
  • Delta Air Lines: 1.6
  • American Airlines: 1.5
  • United Airlines: 1.2
  • JetBlue: 1
  • Spirit Airlines: 1

Regional airlines:

  • Piedmont Airlines: 4.33
  • Sun Country Airlines: 2.78
  • Envoy Air: 2.11
  • GoJet Airlines: 2
  • Trans States Airlines: 1.78
  • Compass Airlines 1.22
  • PSA Airlines: 1.22
  • SkyWest Airlines 1.11
  • Endeavor Air: 0.78
  • Air Wisconsin Airlines: 0.68
  • ExpressJet Airlines: 0.56
  • Republic Airways: 0.44

If anybody needs me, I’ll just be throwing up in my mouth forever, thinking about all the crap I’ve consumed midair throughout my lifetime.