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The 2019 Airline Water Study is out, and the result aren’t pretty. A joint study by Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center and surveyed 23 airlines, 12 regional and 11 major airlines on water quality. The quality varies significantly between all of the options.

The scoring was from 5 to 0, 5 is the best. A score of 3 or higher means the water is safe to drink. The study checked 10 criteria, taking into account size, presence of E.coli, and violations of the Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, a federal law.

So who’s water is safe to drink in the sky? Charles Platkin, PhD, JD, MPH, the executive director of the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center, said, “Alaska Airlines and Allegiant win the top spot with the safest water in the sky, and Hawaiian Airlines finishes No. 2.”

And who’s not so safe? Don’t drink the water from these airlines, who scored lower than 3, meaning they are not safe to drink:

  1. Frontier Airlines, 2.6
  2. Southwest Airlines, 2.4
  3. Delta Air Lines, 1.6
  4. American Airlines, 1.5
  5. United Airlines, 1.2
  6. JetBlue, 1
  7. Spirit Airlines, 1

The study said that some waters could contain trace amounts of E.coli, which makes it unsafe to wash hands. Bring your own hand sanitizer instead of relying on the quality of water in the sink.

Water quality depends on multiple factors, according to the press release, “An aircraft flies to numerous destinations and may pump drinking water into its tanks from various sources at domestic and international locations. The water quality onboard also depends on the safety of the equipment used to transfer the water, such as water cabinets, trucks, carts and hoses.”

The study authors recommend not drinking coffee or tea on board airplanes, instead selecting bottled and sealed water. Or better yet, bring a reusable water bottle you have filled at the airport. More reason to remove single-use plastic from our lives.

Read more about how to be healthy on airplanes in One Green Planet. Check out these articles, Here’s How You Can Tackle Long Flights the Healthy and Plant-Powered Way and Simple Plant-Based Solutions to Long and Tiring Plane Rides.

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