Water used for in-flight United Coffee?

Old Feb 4, 23, 3:44 am
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Water used for in-flight United Coffee?

I continue to see online warning about tap water on a plane. It always includes a warning about not drinking the coffee. I like black coffee and really like the stuff United serves. I always ask for it. Never had any taste or health issue. Is this BS? Do they still, after all this publicity, "rarely clean the tanks"?
I am guessing this is one of those online things that never quits. I also would guess that the heat in the coffee pot kills anything left in the water.
And if anyone from United reads this, the illy coffee is excellent.
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Old Feb 4, 23, 6:37 am
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It sounds like you're drinking the coffee and you're still alive so...
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Old Feb 4, 23, 7:46 am
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I wouldn’t worry about it! Our bodies are strong and just imagine how many people are drinking coffee on UAL flights everyday esp in morning flights. Glad you enjoy the coffee.
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Old Feb 4, 23, 7:55 am
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This thread gives me uncomfortable flashbacks of "fresh poo". Long Live Illy!
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Old Feb 4, 23, 8:12 am
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Originally Posted by elitefreak
This thread gives me uncomfortable flashbacks of "fresh poo". Long Live Illy!
ha - thats what I was thinking. Remember that swill.

these days, coffee is mostly the only thing I drink aboard besides water - rarely drink soda and even juice (anywhere) because of the insane amounts of sugar (and on the rare occasion I do have soda, I look for Pepsi anyway, since, IMO, tastes better - I also remember the days well when I did drink it - on UA).

im still here, so.

Used to like the illy iced coffee they sold onboard - that only lasted a few months though (which to be fair, also has a lot of sugar, that was in the days when I was younger and wasnt worried about that).

they also still have stories come up occasionally about the air quality on planes, then I always remember that the air quality is supposed to be better than in your average office building
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Old Feb 4, 23, 8:30 am
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The issue may come up not that they don't wash the water tank but that the coffee pot is never cleaned, only that the old coffee is dumped. Or possibly the source of the drinking water.

I was first one to board a plane recently and as I got to the end of the gangway i could smell the fresh coffee being brewed. It smelled wondeful and i said as much to the FA. She gave a semi-scared look that I took as a warning not to drink the coffee.

Flying tomorrow morning. I am going to take one for the team and ask for a black coffee. Hoping that I can report back....
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Old Feb 4, 23, 9:10 am
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The aircraft water systems are sanitized as part of the aircraft's maintenance program. (How often do you sanitize the pipes in your house?)

The coffee pots are switched out by catering for clean pots.
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Old Feb 4, 23, 9:14 am
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Originally Posted by mikem132
I continue to see online warning about tap water on a plane. It always includes a warning about not drinking the coffee. I like black coffee and really like the stuff United serves. I always ask for it. Never had any taste or health issue. Is this BS? Do they still, after all this publicity, "rarely clean the tanks"?
I am guessing this is one of those online things that never quits. I also would guess that the heat in the coffee pot kills anything left in the water.
And if anyone from United reads this, the illy coffee is excellent.
When the original epa study that kicked off the fear cycle used samples from the lav water mixed in with tap water thi is the sort of stuff that happens.
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Old Feb 4, 23, 9:25 am
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Originally Posted by prestonh
When the original epa study that kicked off the fear cycle used samples from the lav water mixed in with tap water thi is the sort of stuff that happens.
The study used samples from both galley and lavatory taps, both of which draw from a common water source. I'm not sure it's the saving grace you think it is.
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Old Feb 4, 23, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by Beltway2A
The study used samples from both galley and lavatory taps, both of which draw from a common water source. I'm not sure it's the saving grace you think it is.
Lav taps are easily cross contaminated. Co hort studies at the time by fda showed no contamination fwiw.
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Old Feb 4, 23, 3:55 pm
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Galley water on all modern aircraft is filtered.

https://www.ptitechnologies.com/aero...water-filters/

Newer builds include a far-ultraviolet disinfection stage.

The potable water tanks are too easily contaminated (from the fill trucks or maintenance) to risk sickening a plane full of passengers, crew, and the resulting negative publicity and lawsuits.

FWIW, if you care about coffee quality, always make sure your brewing equipment is spotless and the water is filtered. It's not a subtle difference in flavor.

9/10 times I find the coffee served on aircraft to be better than that in restaurants, and I suspect it's because the gear is loaded clean (unlike rarely washed carafes in restaurants) and the water is filtered.
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Last edited by Ghoulish; Feb 4, 23 at 4:02 pm
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Old Feb 4, 23, 4:52 pm
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I've never developed the taste for coffee -- on the ground or in the air not have I tried drinking from an aircraft tap -- but if it concerns you it may make you rest a little easier to know that for US flagged aircraft the EPA regulates aircraft water systems similarly to more traditional (i.e. municipal) water systems: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/aircra...ing-water-rule
it may not make you feel better to know that I first learned about this a couple years ago when I stumbled across an the EPA citation to an airline (can't remember if it was UA) for violating the rules.
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Old Feb 4, 23, 5:13 pm
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Originally Posted by lincolnjkc
I've never developed the taste for coffee -- on the ground or in the air not have I tried drinking from an aircraft tap -- but if it concerns you it may make you rest a little easier to know that for US flagged aircraft the EPA regulates aircraft water systems similarly to more traditional (i.e. municipal) water systems: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/aircra...ing-water-rule
it may not make you feel better to know that I first learned about this a couple years ago when I stumbled across an the EPA citation to an airline (can't remember if it was UA) for violating the rules.
if people want more info
current rule 2010: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/aircra...ing-water-rule


settlement between multiple airlines w/ EPA in 2005, before current rule published in 2010, including united

https://web.archive.org/web/20060426...dex111705.html
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Old Feb 4, 23, 5:19 pm
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Im pretty picky about coffee (grind and brew my own at home) and generally try but dont finish most complimentary coffee at hotels, clubs, airlines etc. I agree that the Illy in flight is worth a small cup.
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Old Feb 4, 23, 6:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Ghoulish
Galley water on all modern aircraft is filtered.

https://www.ptitechnologies.com/aero...water-filters/


.
All the filters in that link are for taste and odor only. My son did the testing that led to the EPA tests and subsequent regulations. At that time Boeing also confirmed their planes only had water filters for taste and odor, not bacteria and other contaminates.

Someone asked whether we clean our home water pipes. The difference is our home pipes dont get filled with water from developing nations as airplane tanks do.

Last edited by l etoile; Feb 4, 23 at 6:48 pm
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