Coffee is not my Cup of Tea

By The Flying Pinto

Why is it difficult to get a good cup of tea on an airplane? I might get in trouble here from my colleagues but, most flight attendants do not serve good tea. It’s one of those things low on the priority list. It doesn’t help that we’re given plastic carafes to put the hot water in. It’s unfortunate because tea and travel make sense to me! Take these quotes for instance:

Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors.  ~Alice Walker (I love a picnic on the airplane)

Tea is a cup of life.  ~Author Unknown

Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.  ~Catherine Douzel

Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world.  ~T’ien Yiheng

And, one my Irish ancestors would agree with:

Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.  ~Author Unknown

So how do you get a decent cup of tea while traveling by air? You’ll need to take matters into your own hands and BYOT!

  • Invest in and bring your own travel mug! David’s Tea has an amazing selection of stainless steel and glass travel mugs.
  • Bring your own tea and don’t forget the caffeine free for helping you through jet lag.
  • If possible stop off at Starbucks or similar and ask for hot water before your flight. They probably won’t charge you but, since I’m usually in uniform or have my airline ID, I’m not sure if it’s just a courtesy? What you could do is purchase your bottled water for your flight and ask for hot water and I bet you don’t get charged.
  • While you’re at Starbucks grab whatever you’ll need, sugar in the raw, cream, honey or milk to add to your on board cup of tea. I actually travel with my daughters old Klean Kanteen stainless baby bottle for this reason. Any small leak proof container will do, just remember to bring it through security empty.
  • If you have a long flight and want to relax on board with a nice cup of tea ask the flight attendant for hot water and they will bring you a cup. Do not try to hand them your travel mug as most will not touch passengers belongings due to germ exposure.

Any other tips? Join us on Facebook, twitter or pinterest! And, did you know September is considered the best month to purchase luggage! Check out the deals at and use our code: THEFLYINGPINTO15 for 15% off your entire order!

Cheers and safe flying!





  1. Mario (@MarioTravels) @ 2012-09-18 14:25

    Thank you for this passionate post. I always travel with a small, personal stash of tea for the very reason stated here. Glad to see that there are other travelers whose love of tea and travel are one and the same. Cheers!

  2. Terrific tips, thank you! I always bring my own tea wherever possible, but cannot live without my Klean Kanteen!!

  3. This post sounds right from the heart. What great advice. Thank you!

  4. I do know all our ancestors would agree about the bread and water turning into tea and toast! That is the Irish cure all. It’s also a good diet if you need to lose weight fast. Not healthy though, forget I said that.
    I took a look at, nice stuff! I intend to try the Fall Collection, looks yummy. XMAS is coming so be sure to keep me in mind for the Bodum Stainless Travel Mug! My present mug is a little leaky.
    Glad I have had your tips about traveling…I learned
    a long time ago about tea on the plane. If you’re in the front of the plane, hot and weak…in the back of the plane…forget it, it’s dishwater. Not that I like to complain, mind you, Jeff just has to figure out a new “tea” system. I’m sure he’s working on it. As you say to do I stop at the closest Starbucks to the gate, they are always happy to give me hot water (free) in my “leaky” travel mug. Grab the sugar and nonfat milk…put in my teabag and all set. I don’t open it till I am in the air, it’s usually still pretty hot. One time I did ask for hot water on the plane. The FA said sure, she’d be back but she didn’t remember till we were about to land. You know I don’t like to complain, I know they’re busy. I have a feeling that’s what would happen most of the time, so the Starbucks plan I think works best. Now about turning the bread into toast. I notice the new planes have plugs in most of the seats…do you think anyone would mind if I pulled out my toaster?? I would be happy to share.

  5. I’m a southern gal so I prefer my sweet iced tea. I bought an insulated glass from Starbucks and I’m set to go. Great post though!

  6. Love this post. I was visiting in Nova Scotia and came across Davids Tea shop. I discovered a whole new world. Bought some travel stuff and tea, it was great for the trip home. Now I buy online.

  7. Thank you, I like to order tea on a morning flight and it always sucks. Thanks for the solution!

  8. now that there is a flight attendant working with southwest being personally sued for serving hot tea and will be put in financial devistation for simply doing her job and serving hot tea to someone that ordered hot tea you may be hard pressed to find hot tea on airplanes in the upcoming days.

  9. My father in law carries this around with him:

    If you can’t see the link, it’s a portable water heater and scary as heck. It’s basically a hot metal coil you put into a safe container (metal or glass mug). When he took this out in the hotel room, I thought I should call the fire marshall. I’m sure someone would get in trouble if they tried this on a plane, but at the airport, why not? Bring your metal/glass thermos, get some fountain water, and put this in before the flight. You should then have hot water for the trip. Also great if you’re stuck at a layover and need some hot tea. Handle with care!

  10. Christie @ 2012-11-05 21:13

    Well, to make a good cup of tea you have to start out with good water and since we are dealing with airplane water which is stored and filled by a random water hose at any random city in any country do not ever expect to get a good cup of tea on an airplane. Drink something else for gawd’s sake. BTW why is it that all these New York Metro type guys now drink tea.. What a pain…..

  11. Great tips for a frequent flyer! I used to just stop and BUY tea at Starbucks. Can’t believe I haven’t done this before! Thanks!

  12. Great article! I can barely go a day without a cup of good tea with some honey. I’m going on my first trans-Atlantic flight in a couple weeks to England on the start on a 6+ month world adventure and had hoped I could bring my own tea bags!

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