Kevin, who goes by the username @ichbinvin, shared a recent video to TikTok to look at some of the responses to a Reddit post, which asked: “Flight attendants, what’s the dirty little secrets of your industry? He started by reading one Reddit comment from someone who was a pilot, who encouraged people not to drink the coffee on board because “water tanks are rarely if ever cleaned, and they use this water to make coffee on board”.
In his video, Kevin agreed that plane coffee is “disgusting”, before encouraging travellers to “get to the airport 10 minutes earlier and buy a coffee in the terminal”. However, according to the flight attendant, he doesn’t avoid the coffee aboard a flight because of the water tanks.
“The fact that the tanks rarely get cleaned where the water’s in should be the least of your concern,” he said. “For me, it’s always been the way that flight attendants have to clean coffee pots. For whatever reason, we’re not supposed to empty coffee pots in drains, we’re supposed to dump them down the toilet.”
He continued to emphasise that the cleaning of the coffee pot, which he claims includes dumping the coffee into a toilet, isn’t necessarily sanitary.
“When you take a coffee pot and dump it in the toilet, in order to not make a huge mess everywhere, you kind of have to get a little close to the toilet,” he said. “And I imagine that there’s some kind of backsplash of particles, bacteria, whatever that goes directly back into the coffee pot which gets put right back into the coffee maker.”
Kevin added that unless an “airline has some kind of Nespresso maker on it,” he wouldn’t get the regular drip coffee served on planes.
The flight attendant’s video has quickly gone viral, with more than 161,800 views as of 1 December. In the comments, many people shared their candid reactions to Kevin’s claims about how the coffee pots are allegedly cleaned.
“The coffee one is making me cry,” one wrote, while another quipped: “Coffee, tea, it’s a no for me. Ginger ale me up.”
A third added: “Sir, thank you for your service NEVER drinking airplane coffee again!!!”
The Independent has contacted Kevin for comment.
This isn’t the first flight attendant who’s shared their take about the coffee served on planes. In a video posted to TikTok last year, former flight attendant Kat Kamalani shared a range of things that she would ultimately avoid doing on a flight. She specified that she “would never drink the hot water” on a plane, which eliminates coffee and tea as beverage options.
She also noted that she posted a video back in January 2021, when she revealed that the “water tanks” and “hot coffee” machines are “rarely cleaned”.
“Those water tanks are never cleaned and they are disgusting,” she said at the time. “We rarely, rarely drink coffee or tea. They come from the same water tank, and so when you’re drinking that coffee and tea, it comes from that hot water, and it’s absolutely disgusting.”
Over the years, studies have also examined the on-flight water tanks, which are used for making coffee and tea. In 2019, CUNY’s Hunter College Food Policy Center conducted an Airline Water study, in which they ranked “11 major and 12 regional airlines mainly by the quality of water they provided on board its flights”.
Results found that “Alaska Airlines and Allegiant won the top spot with the safest water in the sky”. Meanwhile, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines allegedly had the worst scores when the airlines’ onboard water was rated. Ratings were based on 10 criteria, including “fleet size, violations of the government’s Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, positive E. coli and coliform water sample reports”.