Why you shouldn’t order coffee, tea on an airplane

And no, it’s not because turbulence could leave you with a burn.

A story in Travel & Leisure last week caught my eye because it’s the height of summer travel season and I hate getting sick.

Airplanes across the country serve hot coffee and tea as a service to customers, but the under-regulated water system might be delivering coliform with your morning drink. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

It turns out that the water used on airplanes to make coffee and tea comes from a tap system on the plane. Unlike the bottles of water they often serve, the water used to make coffee and tea has to go through a piping system that is not as regulated as you might hope. An EPA study from 2004 found that 13 percent of water samples from 158 planes contained coliform.

Yes, coliform, the bacteria that will give you a serious case of diarrhea and vomiting, if not worse.

That’s not how anyone wants to spend a vacation, and even though I’m pretty lenient about drinking tap water, I’ll be skipping coffee during the in-flight beverage service on my next trip.

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