An eye-opening study was just recently conducted to see which U.S. airlines have the best drinking water, and the results are somewhat surprising. According to the study, only four U.S. carriers provide safe and clean water on their flights.
The study was done by Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center and DietDetective. The 11 major airlines, along with 12 regional airlines, had their quality of onboard water rated. It ranked each airline by a Water Health Score, which was based on 10 criteria. These included the federal government’s Aircraft Drinking Water Rule violations, positive tests for E. coli and coliform and the airline’s willingness to answer questions about water quality etc. A 5.0 is the highest possible score, while a 0 is the lowest.
According to the researchers, Alaska Airlines and Allegiant Air have the safest water in the skies, with Hawaiian Airlines coming in at second and Frontier Airlines in third. On the losing end was Spirit Airlines and JetBlue. Alaska Airlines and Allegiant Air chalked up a score of 3.3; Hawaiian Airlines 3.1; Frontier Airlines 2.6.
When it comes to regional airlines, Piedmont Airlines is the highest-rated regional carrier with a high score of 4.33. All other regional airlines should improve the safety of their onboard water, according to the study.
The study provided a host of recommendations for passengers who want to stay healthy and avoid getting sick on planes. It recommends not drinking coffee or tea prepared on the plane and only drinking water that comes in a sealed bottle. It also recommend that passengers use hand sanitizer instead of washing their hands to keep germs at bay.
While coffee and tea fans might be disappointed in the study, it should be noted that the water was tested directly from the taps of airplanes. However, when making tea or coffee, the water is boiled, which kills waterborne pathogens.
To see how each airline in the study fared, you can check out the 2019 Airline Water Study. A 3.0 or higher shows that the airline generally has safe, clean water.