October 12, 2009

Kate Hanni
(707) 337-0328

For Immediate Release

Flyersrights.org Plea to Airline Passengers: “Don’t Drink the Water!”

Consumer Advocacy Group Disappointed in Latest EPA Guidelines for Providing Safe Drinking Water Aboard Airplanes

Napa, CA (October 12, 2009) – Flyersrights.org, the national advocacy group for airline passengers in the United States, has gone on record by stating that last week’s finalized EPA guidelines regarding airline drinking water are insufficient and basically allow the airlines to operate as they please without regard to passenger health and safety.

The new EPA guidelines, which are based on a 2004 study in which 15% of airliners tested positive for coliform, call for mandatory testing every five years. In addition, the EPA is only required to do random inspections on airplane water systems and the new rules don’t commence for another 18 months.

Kate Hanni, founder and president of Flyersrights.org does not think the new rules adequately address passenger health concerns.

“Testing water every five years for coliform is simply unacceptable. The flying public trusts the airlines to provide it with basic needs such as potable, hygienic water -and the airlines are failing the task. Now the government has attempted to regulate, yet has clearly bowed down to the airlines with extremely lax new rules that do not address the issue. Our recommendation to passengers is that they do not drink water on board an airplane unless it is bottled, do not brush teeth with bathroom tap water and disinfect further after washing hands in airplane bathrooms”, said Hanni.

Paul Ziots, a passenger who was stranded on the tarmac in Austin in 2006 for almost nine hours, knows the dangers of airplane tap water all too well.

“All we had on board the aircraft was tap water. I became ill with intestinal problems, and had to put myself up for two nights in an airport hotel, at my own expense, before aborting my trip and flying home”, he states.

Flyersrights.org was formed in 2007 by several passengers who were stranded for nine hours on the tarmac in Austin, Texas. The organization advocates for passengers’ rights, including passage of the Passenger’s Bill of Rights currently being debated in Congress. The organization currently has 27,000 members nationwide. For more information, visit www.flyersrights.org or call the hotline at 1-877-FLYERS6.