Most major airlines in the US serve passengers water that is so contaminated that you shouldn't even wash your hands with it – let alone drink it, a new study finds.

This is according to the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Canter and, who investigated the water quality of 23 different US airlines.

The study gave a 0-5 score, with 5 being the best, based on 10 criteria, including "fleet size, Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (ADWR) violations, positive E. coli and coliform water sample reports and cooperation in providing answer to water-quality questions."

A low score would be indicative of the presence of microorganisms in the water, indicating that disease-causing pathogens could be there as well.


According to Platkin's report, major US airlines scored as follows:

Alaska: 3.3
Allegiant Air: 3.3
Hawaiian Airlines: 3.1
Frontier: 2.6
Southwest: 2.4
Delta: 1.6
American Airlines: 1.5
United: 1.2
JetBlue: 1
Spirit: 1

The researchers also gave the EPA (and almost all major airlines contacted) their "Shame on You" award for their "very poor response time and lack of cooperation answering detailed questions," noting the EPA didn't answer most questions about the penalties they hand out.

Knowing what they know now, researchers have their "bottom line advice" to all airline passengers: Never drink water aboard an airplane unless it's sealed in a bottle. That includes coffee or tea.

Next time, bring an eco-bottle or keep-cup with you. Fill it in the gate area.

Also, don't wash your hands in the bathrooms. Use hand sanitiser instead.