Don't Believe This Airplane Coffee Myth

"What's the deal with airline food?" This Jerry Seinfeld quip has been circulated so many times that the set-up's a joke in and of itself. Granted, airplane meals and drinks aren't exactly what you think of in terms of haute cuisine. No matter what you order, be it a plate of chicken or some salmon, the flavor is almost always subdued as if someone numbed your tongue and then gave you a vague description of what your food was supposed to taste like. But in all fairness, it's not the fault of the airline or even the food itself. The weird and unappetizing way your food and drinks taste in flight is actually the result of your body's response to the high altitude and the recycled cabin air (via CN Traveler). 

Though there have been attempts by chefs and airlines to make food taste better, and some even recommend doing certain actions to help "trick" your body into overcoming its own numbed senses (via Food Beast), airline food still has a poor reputation. Even worse, certain unsavory rumors have sprung up regarding their quality, including claims that the coffee and even the water on board your flight are derived from a disgusting source.

No, your coffee isn't made with toilet water

You've probably heard that airplanes recycle the air in the cabin. But have you ever thought about the water? Someone, apparently with a twisted sense of humor, spread a rumor that the water for your in-flight coffee is sourced from the bathrooms.

Fortunately, according to Arina Bloom, a former flight attendant, this rumor is simply that: baseless hearsay. Writing for Business Insider, Bloom explains that not only does she drink airplane coffee and feels fine after doing so, but there are two separate water tanks used for the toilet and the kitchen. She also acknowledges concerns about the cleanliness of the water tanks, but in the end, notes that everyone has their own standards.

While Bloom is certainly correct about the coffee not being made with recycled toilet water, there is still some concern about the quality of the water on flights. Another flight attendant, via a 2021 TikTok video, claimed that passengers should steer clear of coffee as the water tanks are never cleaned. But on the contrary, a 2019 study on the water quality of major airlines revealed that a majority of airlines do indeed have safe, clean, drinking water — save for Spirit Airlines and JetBlue, which had the lowest score of only 1. Although your coffee may not be made with toilet water, if you still feel uncomfortable, maybe just stick to bottled water instead.