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Airplane drinking water. Is it safe?

Airplane drinking water. Is it safe?

Old Apr 19, 17, 7:48 pm
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Airplane drinking water. Is it safe?

Water that is served by the crew for drinking is bottled water usually? Or does it come from a specific water tank in the aircraft that is separate from the water tank for the toilets?
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Old Apr 20, 17, 9:40 am
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ive only ever seen it served from large bottles. atleast with the european carriers
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Old Apr 20, 17, 9:51 am
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Originally Posted by wolf72 View Post
Water that is served by the crew for drinking is bottled water usually? Or does it come from a specific water tank in the aircraft that is separate from the water tank for the toilets?
If it looks blue, it's the water from the toilets.

Based on what I've read, I wouldn't drink any water that didn't come from a bottle.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 4:36 pm
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Only drink water from a bottle. Unless you enjoy diarrhea.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 4:38 pm
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Ask for water on MH ex BKK and it's tap water !!!
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Old Apr 20, 17, 5:09 pm
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Originally Posted by ExpatSomchai View Post
Ask for water on MH ex BKK and it's tap water !!!

That's what I figured....
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Old Apr 20, 17, 5:28 pm
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Originally Posted by wolf72 View Post
Water that is served by the crew for drinking is bottled water usually? Or does it come from a specific water tank in the aircraft that is separate from the water tank for the toilets?
The toilets on airplanes don't flush with water.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 5:53 pm
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
The toilets on airplanes don't flush with water.


well that'll be news to a lot of mechanics.
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Old Apr 21, 17, 2:45 am
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On most airlines, water served as drinking water will be commercial bottled water. Some airlines still have self-service spigots which draw water from the aircraft potable water system.

Water used in coffee or tea will (typically) be from the aircraft water system. Some airlines have installed coffee-makers which take water from a bottle instead.

As for the toilets: aircraft have two types of toilet flush system.
- Recirculating toilets ("blue juice" toilets) on older aircraft have no connection to the potable water system, the toilets are totally self contained.
- Vacuum type toilets use a small amount of water from the potable water system to assist in flushing. Once flushed, the toilets are totally separated from the potable system (and there are several check valves to ensure no back-flow).

Aircraft drinking water is very tightly regulated these days. The EPA Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (ADWR, implemented under 40 CFR 141 Subpart X in 2011) sets very strict standards for sampling of potable water both onboard aircraft, and at ground servicing points. These rules require lab testing of onboard water up to 12 times a year, and disinfecting of the aircraft drinking water system up to 4 times per year; these requirements apply to every aircraft in commercial service in the United States.

There are lots of anecdotes floating around about aircraft drinking water, but these days most of them are untrue. Most airlines implemented strict disinfection programs before the ADWR, but with the ADWR in place it's now in the operator's best interest to keep their aircraft sanitary (extensive cleaning and re-testing is required if any aircraft fails any regular testing).

I wouldn't recommend making a habit of drinking aircraft onboard water straight from the tap, but you also don't have to be overly concerned about it either.

[EDIT] Outside the US, I can't make any promises. Regulatory oversight varies from country to country, and the water will only be as safe as the local tap water where the water is boarded. There are several countries where US carriers will not board water, due to lack of local sanitary controls.
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Old Apr 21, 17, 6:31 am
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I stay away from airplane drinking water even if it's "safe" - even when brushing my teeth I try to use a bottle of water unless I have absolutely no choice.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 3:24 pm
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KPWM. That EPA stuff that you refer to was instigated directly from Flyertalk, specifically:

http://thegate.boardingarea.com/will...safe-to-drink/

Aircraft in the US can be tested monthly, if they are tested once a year, that would be impressive, they can go years without being tested. The tanks ARE generally disinfected perhaps twice a year on average (which is way better than it used to be). In short, stay away from the tank water.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 4:33 pm
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Originally Posted by ExpatSomchai View Post
Ask for water on MH ex BKK and it's tap water !!!
You would think airlines have an incentive not to do this - serving Thai tap water seems like a recipe for blocked toilets.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 4:37 pm
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Remember when aircraft lavatories had disposable glasses for water? Some of them even had a special tap, with the sink water marked as not for consumption. Back then, I drank airplane water. I'm still alive and I don't recall experiencing ill effects. [This was on USA legacy carriers; foreign carriers tended to have signs saying not drinking water in the local language.]
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Old Apr 24, 17, 9:51 am
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Originally Posted by Duke787 View Post
I stay away from airplane drinking water even if it's "safe" - even when brushing my teeth I try to use a bottle of water unless I have absolutely no choice.
Usually I do the same. I did brush my teeth with the spigot water on a BA flight last year. I didn't get sick or die.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 11:13 am
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Originally Posted by KPWM_Spotter View Post

Water used in coffee or tea will (typically) be from the aircraft water system.
So, presumably, it's safe once heated to "tepid".
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