A passenger has reportedly been banned for life from US Airways following a mid-air incident involving an AeroPress. It all happened this morning on Flight 369, an Atlanta to Dallas direct flight departing in the early hours of April 1st. An unfortunate combination of turbulence and scalding hot water resulted in terrible injuries for the mile high brewer, including third degree burns. The flight considered diverting to Little Rock, Ark., but instead proceeded to Dallas as planned, whereupon landing the man was escorted from the plane by medical professionals.
The airliner has refused to name the banned passenger before completing their formal inquest, but according to eyewitness accounts circulating online, the gentleman in question began assembling the tools necessary for in-flight brewing shortly after the plane took off. His kit included a Porlex hand grinder, digital scale, and exactly 17 grams of specialty coffee—”roasted in Europe,” he was heard telling passengers seated nearby.
US Airways serves Houston-based coffee roaster Freshbrew with their onboard filter coffee program. In 2013 BizJournals covered this story:
Mid-flight AeroPress brewing enjoyed a brief vogue before the Federal Aviation Administration unceremoniously banned the practice in 2014. With today’s regrettable incident making worldwide news, increased enforcement of the ban is sure to follow.
US Airways declined our request for comment, but we did make contact via Facebook with a member of the cabin crew onboard Flight 369. When asked about the mid-flight incident, our source (whom we’ll call “R.B.”) was clearly shaken by the events. He confirmed to us that mile high AeroPress brewing is far from common—R.B. had only seen it happen once before, on the same Atlanta to Dallas flight. And when asked how he was doing in the aftermath of today’s incident, he told us, “Well, let’s just say that I don’t drink but I’m thinking about starting.”
Legal action against the offending AeroPress brewer is pending, with federal reckless endangerment charges expected to be filed upon his release from Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The use of AeroPress coffee brewers remains banned on all flights in the United States under FAA jurisdiction.