Danger: Exploding coffee?

January 11, 2013

From a CNN article this week:

According to a safety alert published on the Federal Aviation Administration’s website, the prepackaged coffee filters many airlines use are susceptible to pressure buildup and can explode when an unsuspecting attendant lifts the coffee pot to pour a cup.

Okay seriously? The coffee filters are dangerous? Yeah right.

Several cases of bursting java filters have caused flight crew and passengers to suffer first- and second-degree burns, according to the FAA’s warning.

“The coffee filter containing the hot coffee grounds can burst causing burns to the face, neck, hands, arms and torso in varying degrees of severity,” the FAA’s safety alert said. The alert was issued to airlines and aircraft operators on January 3.

Oh. Maybe they are actually dangerous….

When it looks like the coffee filter package is about to blow, passengers and crew nearby should get out of the way and not touch the coffee pot.

Don’t have to tell me twice!

It just seems like the manufacturers of this coffee filter should know a) the risks of doing things in a pressurized cabin; and b) how to avoid those risks! I mean, come on. First and second degree burns?? That’s a big deal! You can’t tell me there’s not a way to design these coffee filters so that this doesn’t happen.

The article goes on to say that the FAA is recommending airlines add information about how to safely use the coffee filters into their safety manuals. I definitely think that’s smart for the interim, but IMO this is a design flaw.

Now I’m going to be terrified every time my neighbor asks for a cup of coffee.

Readers, what do you think? Are the flight attendants responsible for using the coffee filters safely? Or should the manufacturer figure out a better design?

Pictured: Adorable vintage coffee pot (NOT of the exploding variety) from Etsy shop Zoe Designs.

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