One Coffee in the Clouds To Go

It’s that moment. The aircraft has reached cruising altitude and the pilot has switched off the seatbelt signs, and you see the metal cart being pushed down the aisle. The air hostess eventually arrives at your seat and asks the question you have been waiting all morning for; “Coffee”?

Airlines are expected to not only get you from point A to point B, but also provide some level of hospitality. This differs, of course, in relation to flight time. A passenger boarding a 12-hour flight would expect far more than a cup of coffee, compared to the passenger boarding an early morning business flight. Although far from a generator or aircraft navigation system in terms of necessity or importance, dysfunctional coffee makers have the ability to ground an aircraft. Coffee makers are plugged into the electrical system and the water supply of an aircraft. If there is a minor problem with the coffee pot, there is the potential that it will affect the larger electrical circuit. 

The FAA released an advisory circular to help clarify the requirements of an electric domestic appliances such as a coffee maker. Overheat protection and overpressure relief measures should be factored into the design of the coffee maker. Once more, the coffee pot should have a circuit breaker device that automatically shuts off the device, isolating it from the main electrical circuit. As well as the mechanical safety features, the coffee pot must be safely secured within the galley. If the coffee pot were to fall during takeoff, landing, or turbulence, it may injure someone or cause damage to the aircraft, perhaps causing the aircraft to divert. Therefore, the FAA sets out regulations to ensure the coffee pot is safely secured to start with. 

With the short turn-around times that commercial aircraft are more and more subject to, passengers may wonder how stringently the coffee pot is maintained between flights. They need not worry, as the FAA even stipulates a self-cleaning function built into the coffee makers. While the FAA is thinking in terms of safety, a coffee that doesn’t taste burnt is always preferable. 

Though a coffee maker seems like an innocuous component of an aircraft, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of caffeine. A malfunctioning coffee pot can cause a series of costly delays and pack of angered passengers. On the other hand, a flight without coffee also results in disgruntled, possibly angered customers. The coffee pot is just another situation where the FAA rules and regulations should not be flouted. 


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