Post pandemic we’ve had a lot of air hosts with more spare time than usual jump on TikTok to take us behind those tiny velcro curtains and fill us in on the inner workings of flight attendant life. The latest viral video explains why you should avoid that coffee and tea cart next time you find yourself mid-air and man, do we hope this is a #notallairlines situation.
Flight attendant Kat Kamalani has been uploading TikTok hostie hack videos since August, with almost all of them going viral. She isn’t afraid of exposing the secrets of the trade, from the nastiest places on a plane to her latest vid on what not to drink during a flight, which has two million views and counting.
“Rule number one, never consume any liquid that is not in a can or a bottle,” Kamalani explains. “The reason being is that those water tanks are never cleaned – and they are disgusting.”
“So talk to a flight attendant, we rarely, rarely drink the 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”.
Pointing to the machines on green screen, she added: “They are rarely cleaned unless they are broken. These guys [the coffee and tea pots] are taken out and cleaned in between flights but the whole machine is never cleaned. And… they’re by the lavatories.”
Instead, she says to only drink stuff from cans or bottles.
Is there any truth to this? Well, it’s actually not new news. There have been multiple studies over the years (like these in 2004 and 2019) looking at water quality on airlines, with findings showing it varies wildly and many airlines have provided passengers “unhealthy water”.
Coliform (the bacterial group E. Coli sits under) was found in too many cases to be acceptable. This is because water for tea and coffee comes from a tap, as opposed to bottles.
Kamalani, who is currently on maternity leave, also includes a hack for parents.
“Pro tip for all you parents – never ask for hot water and put it in your baby’s bottle. Ask for a bottle water on the side and hot water in a cup then make your baby a bottle with the bottled water and put it in the cup [of hot water] and heat it up.”
The comments, as expected, were popping off and there was quite a bit of backlash from other flight attendants.
“You guys should clean them, seriously that’s messed up,” said one commenter.
But there were many hosties saying they know for a fact that their own airlines do have strict cleaning protocol and clean the tanks regularly.
“I’ve been a flight attendant for 23 years and our airline routinely flushes and cleans the tanks,” responded one user.
“In my airline, water tanks are monitored and disinfected regularly. Also the steel pots from coffee makers are changed after every flight by catering,” said another.
“I’m a flight attendant and literally all of us drink the coffee gotta get by somehow,” added another.
While it’s a relief to hear that there are airlines apparently doing the right thing, it also begs the question as to why there isn’t standardised legislation around this type of thing. Blergh.
One flight attendant in the comments continued to expose airlines, jumping on the bandwagon about ice.
“I’m a flight attendant and I always tell people DON’T GET ICE!! In the six years I’ve been working those ice bins have NEVER been cleaned.”
If you’re keen on more airline goss, here’s flight attendants sharing the weirdest things they’ve seen on planes.
(Lead image: Unsplash / Free To Use Sounds)
Sonia feels most at home on the road, with travel her greatest passion. But really, she’s hype about a lot of things: beautiful design, tasty food, wellness, nature, interesting people and women’s issues. The Founding Editor of Junkee’s The Cusp and former Homes Editor at Nine, Sonia prides herself on seeking out authentic experiences with charm and loves sharing a personal rec. Catch her on Instagram @sonnietothetee.