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Potable water

Old 5th Jun 2011, 20:45
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Potable water

I was flying as a paid pax on a long haul flight with an known international airline.
I asked for a cup of water and was offered straight from the boiler tap in the galley.
I didn't drink it as it is directly from the potable water.

During the meal, water was served from a metal pot............. So, I asked for orange juice.

Is it normal for an airline to serve water from the galley tap or just to save money???

Not being sarcastic, eating salad from certain countries washed with local water would give diarrhea. So, tummy pain after the flt is no more a concern for an airline.
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Old 5th Jun 2011, 22:41
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Angel

I think that potable water is safe to drink from most countries. My airline does not pick up potable water from certain countries and as an airline we don't serve it in-flight as drinking water.

When I first started flying we used to use water from the potable supply but that has not happened for many years now; but I think this is more to do with customers and the general public actually wanting bottled water rather than because the potable water is not safe. It is more of a fashion thing, as also seen in restaurants nowadays, as years ago we would have had a jug of water in a restaurant also.

Potable water is specifically treated to make it safe but that can actually cause it not to taste too good and that is why airlines now mostly use bottled water. Potable water is however still used for the hot beverages that are made using the bev makers in the galleys.
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Old 5th Jun 2011, 23:02
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The definition of potable is "safe to drink". Whether it is nice to drink is a different matter.
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Old 6th Jun 2011, 04:33
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Few years ago there was a study reproduced even here that mentioned the quality of the drinking, tap, water on board aircraft was below standards. I don't remember any details but it corroborates with airlines using mainly bottled stuff.

Now about the taste, my elementary chemistry class taught me that the water is odorless and tasteless.


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Old 6th Jun 2011, 08:03
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I didn't drink it as it is directly from the potable water.
Potable water is safe to drink - That is the dictionary definition of "Potable". Since airlines are concerned to ensure that their passengers are not made sick by the potable water, regular audits are performed of potable water uplift at all airfields and the airfields themselves have similar processes in place. Potable water is cleansed chemically (as is tap water) to prevent contamination.

On most flights, it is likely that passengers will consume both bottled water and aircraft potable water in some mix: A bar service might include bottled water whereas a refreshment round or an ad-hoc request might involve potable water. Hot drinks are normally made with very hot (not boiling) potable water.

Many customers are under the impression that the aircraft potable water tanks are little more than mobile cesspits, with algae fronds waving around in the sludge and a few coke cans, dead birds and used condoms tangled at the bottom. Urban myths die hard and slow.
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Old 7th Jun 2011, 22:43
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Many customers are under the impression that the aircraft potable water tanks are little more than mobile cesspits, with algae fronds waving around in the sludge and a few coke cans, dead birds and used condoms tangled at the bottom. Urban myths die hard and slow.


As a member of the inland pleasure boating scene, I think there is a certain level of paranoia being exhibited here. Most inland boats have
water tanks made out of mild steel as part of the structure which are (usually) painted on the inside with a black paint (Water Tank Black). As a result many boats have the same water in their tanks for weeks (even months) this water is often consumed directly from the tank. As a boater for nearly forty years, I have never heard of a mass epidemic of water carried diseases in the boating community. Some newer boats have either stainless steel or Polypropylene tanks and I assume aircaft tanks are of similar construction, so I would not worry about the water having been in the aircraft tank for a matter of hours.

As has been mentioned above the very term Potable water means it is safe to drink. That said however,
in some countries it is not always palatable. So if you are thirsty on board and offered water from the potable tank, have a drink, it might not taste nice, but it is unlikely to kill you.
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Old 8th Jun 2011, 03:41
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Why would you not drink the water from the "potable water" tank? Each "potable water" line has a filter between the tank and any outlet/faucet.

If you drink the coffee of tea you are drinking water from "potable water" tank.

The tanks are periodically sterilized and the filters changer.
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Old 8th Jun 2011, 14:01
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I think water from taps in the galleys is perfectlty safe to drink. Airlines would face major problems if they made people ill by giving them unsafe water to drink. It may not always taste the nicest though.

At my previous airline, we sold bottled water to PAX, and gave out water from the galley taps to those who didn't want to pay for it. It's the same at home - you either decide to drink the water from your tap, or go to the supermarket and buy bottled water.

Having said that, at my current airline (where we give out drinks, rather than sell them), we pour cups of water from large bottles for PAX, unless we happen to run out of the bottles though...in which case we might revert back to using the galley taps.
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Old 8th Jun 2011, 22:36
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It is not if the potable water of the country is safe or not...

It is coming out form the water tanks of the airplanes. Have you ever been checked those water tanks? From inside? I did...

I suggest you to do this...
It is never drinkable...
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Old 8th Jun 2011, 23:04
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It is coming out form the water tanks of the airplanes. Have you ever been checked those water tanks? From inside? I did..
Really? When, where and how? Do tell us.
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Old 9th Jun 2011, 08:12
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Internet Rubbish! - Ignore. No evidence, no way to test that evidence or the credentials of the poster. If aircraft drinking water was unsafe, large numbers of people would be falling sick hourly: They are not.
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Old 9th Jun 2011, 08:56
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Which is exactly why I'm calling him on it. How big does he think these tanks are anyway? How often does he think they are disinfected? I get really wound up by crap like this, posted by people who have never seen any part of an aircraft other than the cabin......
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Old 9th Jun 2011, 09:54
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I do agree with the majority it is "safe" but tell me this, why do all major airlines provide bottled water for their crew?

Surely if it is then tap water should suffice?

Just playing devils advocate here....
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Old 9th Jun 2011, 10:05
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I think the main reason that the crew are provided with bottled water is to help avoid all of the crew becoming unwell should there be a problem. The same reason that the flight crew cannot eat the same meal. It is also a lot easier to provide the flight crew with a couple of bottles of water than keep going in and out with cups of water every five mins!
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Old 9th Jun 2011, 10:35
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I do agree with the majority it is "safe" but tell me this, why do all major airlines provide bottled water for their crew?

Surely if it is then tap water should suffice?

Just playing devils advocate here....
Because as already mentioned the potable water, whilst perfectly safe to drink, does not always taste particularly pleasant. Also when you go to the lavatory on board and flush, and subsequently wash your hands, where do you think that water comes from?

The aircraft has only one water supply, the potable water. It actually makes sense to provide bottled water for drinking as much as possible as this then ensures adequate water supplies for hot beverages, and for supply to the lavatories.
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Old 9th Jun 2011, 10:38
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Pilots with bottled water?

What about the terrorism risks?

They'll be giving them crash axes next
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Old 9th Jun 2011, 11:55
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Also when you go to the lavatory on board and flush, and subsequently wash your hands, where do you think that water comes from?
In our Lavs (A319) the tap water for washing hands is not potable (or at least there is a sign saying not for drinking) whilst in the galley the taps/coffee brewers are potable. I suppose the galley has line filters whereas the lavatory does not?
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Old 9th Jun 2011, 15:39
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Having been involved in an industry where products were designed to carry potable water, I am sure that most people contributing to this thread had no conception as to the testing involved. Each product (say an hose) has to undergo months of testing before it is approved for production. This testing (amongst other things) measures to the most miniscule degree any contamination of the water from constituent parts of the product including fungal growth. This testing has to be done by completely independent laboratories, the manufacturers own figures will not be accepted, by the health authorities.

If someone claims to have discovered a water tank in an aircraft that contains contaminated water, I imagine they also reported the fact both to the airline and Public Health. If true, it would have been stamped on immediately. I do not know for certain, but I imagine that part of a major service would include a close inspection of the potable water tanks. I know it to be the case for the "black water"(sewage) tanks.

I remain of the view that drinking water aboard aircraft is suitable for just that- drinking.

Last edited by Dawdler; 9th Jun 2011 at 15:40. Reason: spelling
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Old 9th Jun 2011, 16:01
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There is a sign in the toilets as it is a health and safety thing. Some people do not uphold the basic principles of hygiene as others......I don't think I need to say anymore.
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Old 9th Jun 2011, 16:37
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Originally Posted by Rotweiler View Post
It is not if the potable water of the country is safe or not...

It is coming out form the water tanks of the airplanes. Have you ever been checked those water tanks? From inside? I did...

I suggest you to do this...
It is never drinkable...
Believe it or not but Rotweiler has got a point. Having been an enigneer for nearly a decade before I started flying I have to agree that if you have seen the inside of a water tank you would not drink the water.

The airline I worked for cleaned the water tanks once a month by flushing them with strong chlorinated water for an hour. Howeven during the yearly check you would still find some contaminants on the inside of the water tanks. Nothing that would make a person ill but just not as appealing to look at. The flushing with chlorinated water kills any bad bacteria but it doesn't stop a small layer of sludge to build up on the inside of the tank.

As has been mentioned already, potable water is perfectly safe to drink. However if you have seen the inside of a water tank after a year of use before it is cleaned you will stick with bottled water.
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