The tea and coffee served on board a flight is reliably shit, usually sitting somewhere in between weak and burnt, scorching or lukewarm.
It’s never the drink you look forward to or even want, but on a long-haul trip that mediocre morning coffee might just be the thing to resurrect you from an uncomfortable sleep (unless you managed to get a row to yourself).
But a flight attendant is speaking out on TikTok, warning travellers not to accept hot tea or coffee from the service carts, no matter how much it sucks.
According to Kat Kamalani, the water cabin crew uses to make the hot beverages comes from large water tanks located beside the toilets. The tanks are apparently never or rarely washed out.
“Those water tanks are never cleaned and they are disgusting,” she says in a now-viral TikTok video, adding that flight attendants themselves will seldom drink tea or coffee on a flight for this reason. Kamalani suggests instead passengers drink only from bottles or cans.
Some flight attendants have argued for the fact that some airlines will actually clean out the tanks regularly, leaving comments behind on her video in defence of the hot water tanks.
“In my airline, water tanks are monitored and disinfected regularly. Also the steel pots from coffee makers are changed after every flight by catering,” one commenter wrote with another adding: “I’ve been a flight attendant for 18 years the hot water is fine.”
Another commenter also made a point about the ice bin on their flights, and that it had not been cleaned in six years. We don’t really know what to believe anymore.
Speaking to the New York Post, Charles Platkin, a professor of nutrition and the executive director of the Food Policy Centre, explained why cleaning the hot water tanks could be an issue.
“Planes come in, [and the tanks are] not being emptied and cleaned, because there is no time for that. The water tank is being filled on top [after] each usage. Whatever would be on the bottom stays there and sits there.”
Noted. No coffee or tea. At least we still have wine.