Flight attendants, required to work long hours with little rest and to battle unruly passengers with oversize carry-on bags, must now deal with another midair hazard: exploding coffee filters.
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a safety alert to all airlines warning that packages of coffee grounds enclosed in filters have burst while coffee was being brewed in commercial planes.
The FAA has recorded about a dozen coffee explosions in the last 10 years, causing first- and second-degree burns to flight attendants and passengers.
Just before the coffee pouch bursts, flight attendants might see water overflowing from the brewer and hear a hissing sound, the FAA warned. It said that when flight attendants lift the coffeepot handle, the hot grounds can splatter on the face, neck, hands and arms of anyone nearby.
FAA officials say accidents can be avoided if flight attendants keep the coffeemaker clean and refrain from doubling or folding the coffee pouches.
The Assn. of Flight Attendants is collecting information to warn its 60,000 members to take precautions, association spokeswoman Corey Caldwell said.
“We are reaching out to our safety committees at each carrier to assess the situation,” she said.
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