Alaska Airlines Tackles Dangerous Coffee Makers On Its Planes

The Association Of Flight Attendants (AFA) Alaska branch has won its action against Alaska Airlines. On April 18, the union announced that the carrier’s management had begun looking into addressing safety issues with onboard coffee makers. The advocacy mainly targets B/E Aerspace’s coffee makers, who claim to be responsible for burns among the flight crew. They had this to say about the management’s decision.

After months of relentless advocacy by our AFA Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC), Inflight Service Committee, and Master Executive Council (MEC), Alaska Airlines management has finally taken the first step towards meaningful action to protect crewmembers and passengers from injuries related to scalding hot coffee and grounds spewing from the brew basket of older-style B/E Aerospace coffee makers.

Effective immediately, management has directed that older-style B/E Aerospace coffee makers must not be used to brew coffee under any circumstances if a Brew Shield is unavailable. In such cases, alternate coffee makers must be used to brew coffee; if no other coffee makers are available, coffee will not be served. If a Brew Shield is available, it must be installed and used. Flight Attendants should refer to Special Edition Bulletin #2024-0045 (April 17, 2024) for specific procedures, instructions for reporting missing Brew Shields, and other essential information.

More needs to be done to keep flight attendants safe from injuries.

Four Cabin crew members walking near an aircraft.

Photo: Svitlana Hulko | Shutterstock

The union salutes the decision to use protection gear when handling the old equipment but believes it may have come too late as it initially raised the issues in February 2024, almost four months before the decision. The Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC), Inflight Service Committee, and MEC firmly believe that the only responsible action for management to take is to completely suspend the use of the older B/E Aerospace coffee makers until the issue is resolved. The union continues calling on the airline to “own safety” by immediately removing these coffee makers from service. They further say

The safety of both Flight Attendants and passengers must not be compromised. It’s our right to work in a safe environment, and we demand that this right be upheld.

Flight attendants can be at risk of injuries.

A flight attendant

Photo: Feruzbek | Shutterstock

The cabin crew job is often idealized, and rightly so, as they discover new destinations domestically and internationally. They are also proud ambassadors of their countries and airlines. However, working at 40,000ft can come with a set of risks of injury. FAs, much like a passenger, may experience an extremely rare accident, but thankfully, most of them will never experience those during their careers. Still, they can have other forms of work-related injuries due to turbulence. This meteorological event can happen anytime during the flight, even when the crew performs cabin service, meaning they can trip and fall or hit their heads on the cabin ceiling.


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The aircraft was en route from New Orleans to Orlando when it encountered severe turbulence.

What do you think of this action by the Association? Let us know in the comments.

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