Why you shouldn’t drink coffee on a plane

We’re all for coffee and flying, just not simultaneously.

attractive female flight attendant serving coffee

Australians are known for their adventurous attitude, love of travel and, perhaps more importantly, love of good coffee. While it’s becoming increasingly hard to top the brew our baristas are serving, ‘up there’ is definitely one place to avoid drinking coffee. And that is 20,000 feet in the air. 

Not only is coffee not great for jetlag or staying hydrated, the real reason to avoid it while on an aeroplane is far more sinister than that. Even to the most undiscerning coffee connoisseur, it’s hard not to notice that it never fails to taste like tepid dishwater, and now we know why. According to a recent post on Reddit from people who claim to work in the airline industry, it’s not unusual for staff to fail to clean the coffee container each morning. If that isn’t concerning enough, even if they were motivated to give it the attention it deserves, planes are not equipped with the appropriate supplies to properly clean and maintain machines.

These claims are further backed by an incident in 2013 that uncovered some airports in Dallas were using “dirty, mould-clogged hoses” containing bacteria such as coliform and E. coli, to make coffee. It’s almost enough to put you off caffeine forever.

Thankfully, we’re used to a much higher and safer quality of product at our local haunts. If you can’t bear to be without your caffeine hit for the duration of a flight, consider carrying some freeze-dried coffee pouches with you or going for green tea instead.

While we’re all for multitasking, this is one instance where two of our greatest loves, coffee and flying, are best left as mutually exclusive events.

Have you had a bad experience with coffee or food while flying? What food or drink do you take with you on a flight?

You can read more secrets from airline insiders at Reddit.



    To make a comment, please register or login

    12th Mar 2016
    A bit of science is relevant here.

    Most planes fly at 40,000 feet, rather than 20,000 feet as the author claims, but plane cabins are pressurised to something equivalent to being between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, depending n the age of the plane.

    At 10,000 feet. water boils at 90 degrees Celsius, rather than the 100 degrees most of us are used to near sea level.

    This makes a significant difference when making coffee. One simply cannot extract as much flavour from coffee beans.
    20th Mar 2016
    If you use boiling water (100 C ) then you are burning the coffee.That is why the milk should not be above 60 C
    12th Mar 2016
    I like to take my own coffee bags and just ask for cup of hot water, I don't take milk or sugar and don't like brewed coffee
    Ageing but not getting old
    18th Sep 2016
    I'm just curious; I know there are certain 'foodstuffs' you can't take from one state to another, let alone going overseas! Does anyone know if the coffee bags (presumably, containing freeze-dried COFFEE, a bean) would be 'in violation' of any of those bans internally or overseas anywhere?
    15th Mar 2016
    I don't like the coffee offered on planes, so avoid it. Fortunately, I only travel on short flights within Australia, so can purchase a coffee from the café at the airport before taking off.
    pedro the swift
    25th Feb 2017
    Wot about tea??

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