You Call THAT Coffee?

MSNBC explains why airline coffee is often really bad, and what to do about it.

“It’s all in the H2O. Many people believe that bad coffee comes from bad water, and they might be right. It is certainly true that airplane water doesn’t taste all that great. It is, after all, from the local municipal water supply, and it’s been sitting in the plane’s water tank for a while. Bottled water makes much better coffee. If you don’t believe me, next time you’re in a hotel, pour bottled water into your room’s coffeemaker. Even those wretched hotel coffee packets can turn out decent coffee if the water is good.

4. You’re drinking decaf — whether you want it or not. Many flight attendants brew only decaffeinated coffee. Are they concerned about your jangled nerves? Not particularly. It’s just that they’d rather have sleeping passengers than a hyperactive crowd any day. I am not condoning it; I’m just saying it happens. Did you know that airline coffee used to be 90% caffeine-free anyway? And did you know that a few airlines still serve mostly decaffeinated coffee as a matter of course?

1. Skip the cart. Don’t drink the coffee from the beverage cart. By the time it gets to you, the coffee is either cold or stale, and it’s probably decaffeinated anyway.

2. Make inquiries. Politely ask the flight attendant’s opinion of the coffee. If he frowns, take the hint. Sometimes he’ll come back with a fresh pot for you later.

3. Take a stand. Get up and take a walk to the back of the airplane after the beverage service, and ask for a cup of coffee. The flight attendants will have time to brew it and you can see that the coffee is fresh.