The Federal Aviation Administration, months after easing rules on portable electronic devices, is restricting passengers' personal use of coffee brewing apparatuses in the air.
New regulations, announced today, prohibit the personal use of coffee brewing devices on flights.
Brewing coffee mid-flight has a cult following amongst the coffee elite, and clubs and websites dedicated to making coffee at cruising altitude have proliferated up in recent years. The practice involves boiling hot water at the gate with a travel kettle, placing it in a stainless steel thermos, hand-grinding whole coffee beans in the air, and brewing with an Aeropress coffee maker on a tray-table.
The FAA said the new rule [PDF] “codifies existing FAA policies and procedures” and is consistent with a mandate issued by Congress to prevent potential injury to passengers and flight crew.
The agency noted the dangers posed by passengers' use of scalding hot water were highlighted in a 2013 Singapore Airlines flight SQ308 from Singapore to London when the plane entered sudden, severe turbulence and experienced a 20 meter free fall. The drop caused the entire cabin to be littered with debris.
“Can you imagine this happening as someone brews coffee at 195 degrees on a flimsy tray-table?”, asks flight and aviation activist Becky Wasky. “It could be a disaster.”
“This really steams me up,” a frequent flier and coffee enthusiast told Sprudge anonymously. “I can't drink the swill they serve mid-flight. I setup my Porlex [hand coffee grinder] and Aeropress and let loose on my tray table. Not anymore, I guess.”
The new rule will go into effect this month.