Coffee, Tea or Solvent?


Here’s another worry to add to your list of reasons to fear flying: coffee. The May 24th issue of Aujourdhui (Jean-Marc Ducos) P.15 reported the plight of an Air France passenger who drank a cup of coffee tainted with caustic solvent normally reserved to purge the airplane’s water ducts. The passenger’s esophagus has been so severely damaged that he can no longer eat normally or work. His most recent operation will attempt to reconstruct the esophagus.

About 50,000 passengers receive coffee each day. One of them was very unlucky. The airplane in question was an Airbus A-320. The manual stipulates the use of a caustic solvent to clean out the water ducts. Other airplanes such as the Boeing, use another disinfectant, oxygenated water.

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Moral of the story: When you fly, drink gin, vodka, or anything in a ‘foolproof’ pop-top can.