Some individuals may not need an excuse to drink alcohol when flying, but according to insider information, alcohol and soft drinks may be the safest liquids to drink when flying.

While tap water on airplanes require regular testing for coliform and E. coli, some feel that this may not be enough, and although “routine disinfection and flushing of the water system [and] periodic sampling of the onboard drinking water” is mandated, tap water on aircraft is still problematic.

According to various tests done over a number of years, tap water on more than 10% of commercial airplanes regularly tests positive for coliform bacteria. While the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) pushed for regulation of onboard water more than fifteen years ago, it says that the rules are still insufficient and should be stricter and stronger.

In a recent interview with Business Insider, the organisation said:

The regulation gives broad discretion to airlines on how often they must test the water and flush the tanks. AFA does not believe this regulation goes far enough or is sufficiently enforced.”

One flight attendant told Business Insider that flight attendants would not drink hot water on the plane; they will not drink plain tea or plain coffee on board.

Various groups and companies across the airline industry commented on airplane water safety, and insisted that because the safety of their customers and employees is always their number one priority; that they work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that the water taken onboard from local municipalities is of good quality and that once the water is onboard it is monitored and rigorous sampling and management requirements are followed to ensure that the water is safe.

Airlines also typically provide bottled water for purchase, and I am not sure how you feel but I feel that it is definitely preferable to fork out some money to ensure that the drinking water while in-flight is potable and will not make you sick. Me? I will continue to take a bottle of pure, chilled water from my water cooler with me when I fly.