As if air travel wasn’t frustrating enough with all its lines and delays and $10 airport bar beers, here’s another revelation from the New York Times that might leave you wondering if flying is even worth the trouble: Flights can be even delayed because the coffee pot needs to be fixed. And believe it or not, dealing with the issue goes beyond just getting people their caffeine fix; inspecting a coffee maker on the fritz is mandated by the FAA.
“The Federal Aviation Administration requires coffee makers to have safety features like circuit breakers and insulation around the wiring to protect from electrical fires,” write the Times. “So when a coffee machine starts misbehaving, maintenance crews must inspect it to ensure there is no fire hazard.” In fact, coffee machines on airplanes have a lot of features that make them much different from your standard Mr. Coffee – from water that boils properly at higher altitudes to electrical circuitry that is airplane compatible.
Robert Isom, American Airline’s chief of operations, went so far as to say in a recent podcast that an “inordinate amount of coffee makers’ problems” caused minor delays. The problem is so significant that the airline is specifically replacing coffee machines at a cost of thousands of dollars per replacement to try and reduce delays.
As one expert said, the coffee machines might not seem like they’re worth all the trouble, but on the other hand, “if the flight leaves without a coffee maker, the passengers will complain there’s no coffee.”
That’s why I say it’s good to stick with that overpriced airport and airline alcohol. Sure, if some dumb passenger over-imbibes, that can cause flights to get delayed for other reasons, but, hey, at least that’s not the airline’s fault.