Airline Coffee: Could you drink it?

By | September 3, 2014

This is most people’s fantasy about airline coffee. The reality is somewhat different: plastic cup, plastic spoon, saucer (ahem!), milk in a small capsule. Still we can dream that we get fresh decent arabica coffee on a long haul flight, can’t we?

Having spent lots of time recently on KLM or Lufthansa or Cathay, I recently flew home from Hong Kong as the final leg of my journey. Unfortunately, a localized tropical storm made our journey rather bumpy, to say the least.

Turbulence & Your Airplane Coffee

It also meant that the crew were unable to serve hot drinks, for fear of accidents. I would reckon that includes staff accidents, too. Air turbulence can be very unsettling! But for coffee lovers, is that worse than bad airline coffee? Perhaps not!

I reckon that many airlines really consider coffee an afterthought, an added expense, and perhaps an unnecessary one because coffee isn’t particularly a good idea if you are dehydrated already.

Dehydration on Flights

In fact, many passengers are dehydrated… the most recent limitations on fluids prevents passengers from carrying more than 100ml on board of anything, and on a long haul flight over 10 hours, it is hard to see how you can consume more than 1000ml easily. Coffee may make your symptoms a little worse, too, because coffee acts as a mild diuretic.

Airline Coffee vs. Airport Coffee

Coffee does tend to lack flavor at these airplane altitudes (or prices), but I do like it if the airline gives you a little snack at the same time, a cookie or chocolate with your coffee. It comes across almost as an apology for the quality of the coffee.

You can occasionally find better coffee on the departure gates, especially if it is a recognized coffee brand, but the quality tends to be a little uneven, airport to airport. But the prices are on the expensive side of things, and not worth paying for a cup of coffee that isn’t even airplane standard. The weather was a pity… I was groggy headed, and in need of some coffee.

Is it really all that bad?

But the lack of coffee got me wondering about airline coffee. Is that a good thing (or bad)? You can read more about Coffee in the Air here and the bacterial content of airplane water here. If that doesn’t put you off, follow this Italian’s advice:

I never drink coffee on airplanes. Being Italian, I simply know I won’t find a very good one.

Quoted by Andrea Radrizzani at Wall Street Journal.

And I was a little disappointed by the quality of the coffee on all the flights I have taken, but it’s difficult to imagine a decent espresso in the air! Or is it? …

Your Coffee Story

Have you ever had a really good cup of coffee on a flight? Do you have a coffee story to share from your travel experiences? Love to hear them! Just drop them in the contact form right here!