The Washington Times - June 24, 2008, 06:31PM



By Jeffrey Denning 

In the old Chevy Chase classic, Fletch, or the sequel, Fletch Lives, the comedian quips at one point that he’d like, “A cup of lard…” Anyone flying now-a-days might get a cup of something else if they’re not extra careful.

About 45 years ago my mother-in-law, then single, walked the aisles of United Airlines planes in 3-inch high heels and a tight dress, serving drinks. Back then the sky waitresses were called stewardesses. They were required to be female and have a certain look. (My mother-in-law is still very thin, youthful-looking and beautiful, by the way.) 

In those days, the term “bottled water” wasn’t a household name and all airline drinks were complimentary.

Well, with the rising cost of fuel, the entire aviation ecosystem has been affected. In fact, we’ll be able to tell our kids about the time when we were able to have free bottled water on airplanes. 

According to this article in the Baltimore Sun, “US Airways will become the first major U.S. airline in August to charge domestic coach passengers for soft drinks, juices, coffee and bottled water.”

US Airways is, according to their website, the fifth largest domestic airline employing more than 36,000 aviation professionals worldwide. US Airways, US Airways Shuttle and US Airways Express operate approximately 3,700 flights per day. Surely they’ll be a few frugal passengers unwilling to pay for a drink.

Warning to all the cheapskates!  Do not drink airline tap water on any air carrier. It’s likely filled with dangerous fecal coliform bacteria, which according to this article, reveals airplane water pipes are filled to the brim with it - and it’s only getting worse.

So, be careful what you drink. I’m sure fecal coliform-infested water doesn’t taste good or smell pleasant, and the aftertaste could bother you for days!