The new study ranked airline drinking water quality by factors including violations, monitoring and bacteria samples
A new study ranked the safest drinking water by airline, considering factors such as fleet size, Aircraft Drinking Water Rule violations, positive E. coli and coliform water sample reports.
The Airline Water Study was completed by DietDetective.com in collaboration with the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center and focused on airlines that fly out of Pittsburgh Intl. Airport. Overall, the study found that Alaska Airlines and Allegiant Airlines had the safest drinking water (with a health score of 3.5 out of 5) and Spirit Airlines had the least safe (with a health score of 1 out of 5), as reported by CBS Pittsburgh.
According to the study, airline water quality can vary vastly from one carrier to another. While the 2011 Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (ADWR) requires the federal government to regulate airline water quality, the rule is difficult to enforce. It defines how often airlines needs to test water samples from airplane water tanks for coliform and E.coli bacteria, and it also specifies how often they need to disinfect the tanks, reported SF Gate.
Factors such as drinking water violations, failure to conduct monitoring and corrective actions and levels of bacteria were considered in assigning the airlines scores. The study’s airline scores from dirtiest to cleanest drinking water is below.
Airline Drinking Water Quality Rankings:
- Spirit Airlines- 1 out of 5
- JetBlue- 1 out of 5
- United Airlines- 1.2 out of 5
- American Airlines- 1.5 out of 5
- Delta Air Lines- 1.6 out of 5
- Southwest Airlines- 2.4 out of 5
- Frontier Airlines- 2.6 out of 5
- Hawaiian Airlines- 3.1 out of 5
- Allegiant- 3.3 out of 5
- Alaska Airlines- 3.3 out of 5
View the complete report and the reasoning behind each score here.
Content related to commercial airline water quality:
- Commercial Water
- Study Warns Against Drinking Airplane Tap Water
- IWG to Install UV Treatment Systems on Embraer Airplanes
- Goodrich Receives Contract for Boeing 777 Potable Water Quantity Transmitter
Interested in this article?
In the November 2019 issue of WQP, Managing Editor Lauren Del Ciello opened the issue in her Editorial Letter by unpacking her personal relationship with airline water quality and the impact of this study on her travels. Read the Editorial Letter to learn more about her thoughts and engage with the magazine here.
"On late night flights to and from a show such as that, I often order a cup of coffee on the plane, opting to power through the flight rather than nap. However, following a recent study completed by DietDetective.com in collaboration with the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center, I’ll be foregoing the airline coffee and sticking to bottled water." ~ WQP Managing Editor Lauren Del Ciello, November 2019 issue of WQP