By Andrea Romano
November 27, 2018

A complimentary soft drink is one of the few free perks many travelers still get to enjoy on their flights. But this practice is no longer guaranteed — especially on budget airlines.

According to his Facebook post, passenger Gene Goh was on a Scoot flight between Singapore and Osaka, Japan. When the flight was delayed, Goh says he asked for a cup of water. Sounds like an easy enough request.

But, Goh wrote, the flight attendant serving him told him that the airline only offers bottled water for purchase.

Naturally, Goh seemed a little shocked that such a basic commodity would not be provided to him unless he paid for it. Many airlines consider water part of their usual drink service, often pouring bottled water into cups instead of serving the whole bottle. Goh claims he would have even been OK with tap water.

Since Goh was unwilling to pay for a bottle, he said the flight attendant served him a cup of ice and told him he could wait for it to melt. Sure, ice is just frozen water, but this doesn't exactly seem like the most timely or accommodating solution.

“All I am asking is just a cup of water, I wouldn't care if it was from the tap. I hope that there could be some sort of care for passengers, not being unreasonable over here,” Goh wrote on Facebook. Many commenters have voiced their opinions on the matter, some supporting Goh and others criticizing him for not just ponying up the cash.

Considering dehydration is a serious medical issue on a flight, it’s not entirely unacceptable to expect free water. Though, airlines now charge for lots of things that used to be free, like carry-on bags, headphones, or a blanket and pillow on a long-haul flight.

Furthermore, according to a flight attendant who spoke to Business Insider, regular tap water might actually be the worst thing you can order on a plane; a study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that one in every eight planes fails the standards for water safety. 

That means ice water, plain water, coffee, and tea can be hazardous to your health if an airline is not keeping their water and cleanliness up to standard, and this opens up room for the possibility of a lawsuit if a passenger becomes ill. This is also why many airlines consider bottled water part of their usual drink service.

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