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Why We Never Buy Water At The Airport


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Letizia Vick



When it comes to traveling, whether it’s for business or pleasure, staying hydrated is essential. As we all know, water is the elixir of life, and it’s vital to keep our bodies properly hydrated throughout our journey. However, one common pitfall many travelers fall into is buying water at the airport.


The convenience of purchasing water at the airport seems tempting. After all, it’s readily available, and you don’t have to worry about carrying heavy water bottles in your luggage. But is it really worth it? In this article, we will dive into why buying water at the airport may not be the most ideal choice, both financially and environmentally.


While it’s true that airport convenience stores or vending machines offer a wide selection of bottled water, the cost of these bottles can often be significantly higher compared to prices outside the airport. When you factor in the inflated prices and the number of bottles you may need during your trip, it becomes clear that buying water at the airport can quickly drain your travel budget.


Moreover, the quality of the water available at airports is another concern. Bottled water undergoes rigorous quality control and regulation, ensuring its safety for consumption. However, the same cannot always be said for the water dispensers or taps found at airports. The water quality at some airports may not meet the same standards, potentially compromising your health and well-being.


The environmental impact of purchasing bottled water at airports is another crucial aspect to consider. With the growing concern about single-use plastic waste, it’s important to be mindful of our consumption choices. The plastic bottles used for water at airports often end up in landfills or oceans, contributing to pollution that harms wildlife and ecosystems.


However, there are alternatives to buying water at the airport that are not only more cost-effective but also more sustainable. By investing in a reusable water bottle and carrying it with you, you can refill it at water fountains or bring it through security empty and fill it up once you’re inside.


In this article, we will delve deeper into the inconvenience of buying water at the airport, conduct a cost comparison of airport water versus outside water, explore health concerns and water quality issues at airports, examine the environmental impact of purchasing bottled water, and provide alternative options to stay hydrated during your travels.


So, the next time you find yourself at the airport, think twice before buying that overpriced bottle of water. By making smarter choices, you can save money, protect your health, and help reduce plastic waste on our planet.


Convenience of Buying Water at the Airport

One of the main reasons people opt to buy water at the airport is sheer convenience. After all, when you’re rushing to catch a flight or navigating through security checkpoints, it can be tempting to grab a bottle of water from the nearest convenience store or vending machine. However, is this convenience worth it?


At first glance, it may seem like a hassle to carry a water bottle with you while traveling. You may be concerned about the weight in your bag or the potential for leaks. But with the availability of lightweight, collapsible water bottles and sturdy, leak-proof options, these concerns can be easily mitigated.


Another common misconception is that airports don’t allow passengers to bring their own empty water bottles through security. However, this is not true. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) actually encourages travelers to bring their own reusable water bottles and fill them up once they pass through security. This allows you to stay hydrated without having to spend extra money on bottled water.


Furthermore, carrying a reusable water bottle offers the added benefit of being able to refill it throughout your journey. Many airports now have water fountains or refill stations specifically designed for travelers to top up their bottles. This not only saves you money but also helps to reduce waste from single-use plastic bottles.


Additionally, having your own water bottle on hand means you don’t have to rely on the limited drink offerings available on the aircraft. Airlines often only provide small cups of water during the flight, and they may not always be readily available when you need them. By having your own bottle, you can stay hydrated at your own pace.


Not only does bringing your own water bottle offer convenience, but it also gives you control over the type of water you consume. Airport water dispensers may not always have the best taste or quality, and opting for bottled water can be costly. By bringing your own bottle, you can fill it with water that meets your preferences and standards.


Overall, the convenience of buying water at the airport may seem like a tempting option, but with a little planning and preparation, you can enjoy the convenience of carrying your own water bottle. Not only does it save you money, but it also allows you to have access to water whenever you need it, all while reducing plastic waste. So, next time you’re traveling, make the choice to bring your own water bottle and enjoy the convenience it offers.


Cost Comparison of Airport Water vs. Outside Water

One of the main drawbacks of buying water at the airport is the inflated prices. The convenience of purchasing water at the airport comes at a cost, and it’s important to consider the financial implications before reaching for that overpriced bottle.


When comparing the cost of water at the airport versus outside sources, the difference can be quite significant. Bottled water at airports is often marked up due to various factors, such as higher operating costs, airport fees, and limited competition. This can result in prices that are several times higher than what you would pay for a bottle of water at a regular grocery store or convenience store.


For example, a standard 500ml bottle of water that may cost around $1 outside the airport could easily be priced at $3 or more within airport premises. This markup can quickly add up, especially if you’re a frequent traveler or have a long layover.


If you do the math and consider the number of bottles you may need during your journey, the cost difference becomes even more apparent. Let’s say you need to stay hydrated with at least two bottles of water per day during your trip. If each bottle costs $3 at the airport, you could end up spending an extra $6 per day just on water. Multiply that by the number of days you’ll be traveling, and the total costs can quickly become exorbitant.


On the other hand, purchasing water from external sources before or after arriving at the airport can save you a significant amount of money. By buying a larger pack of water bottles from a nearby store or even filling up your own reusable water bottle from your home tap, you can cut down on expenses and still have access to hydration throughout your journey.


In addition to the cost savings, buying water outside the airport also gives you the freedom to choose from a wider range of brands and options. Airport stores tend to have a limited selection, and you may not find the specific brand or type of water you prefer. By purchasing water from outside sources, you have the flexibility to choose the brand, size, and even flavor that suits your taste and needs.


Considering the substantial difference in cost and the availability of water from external sources, it is clear that purchasing water at the airport is not the most economical choice. By planning ahead and buying water before or after you reach the airport, you can save a significant amount of money while enjoying the same level of hydration.


So, the next time you’re traveling, be mindful of the cost implications and consider purchasing water from outside sources to save money without compromising on your hydration needs.


Health Concerns and Water Quality at Airports

When it comes to staying hydrated during your travels, not only is the cost of water at airports a concern, but the quality of the water available also raises some potential health issues. While bottled water undergoes strict quality control measures, the same cannot always be said for the water dispensers or taps found at airports.


Water quality at airports can vary depending on several factors, including the maintenance of the water system, the source of the water, and the treatment processes in place. Some airports may have robust systems in place to ensure clean and safe drinking water, while others may fall short in meeting the same standards.


Due to the high volume of travelers passing through airports, the water system can be subject to heavy usage and may lead to concerns about water safety. Contamination risks may arise from a variety of sources, such as outdated plumbing, cross-connections, or inadequate treatment processes. These factors can potentially introduce bacteria, viruses, or other contaminants into the water supply.


Furthermore, airport water fountains may not always receive the same level of maintenance and cleaning as their bottled water counterparts. The lack of regular cleaning and sanitization can lead to the accumulation of germs, mold, and other harmful substances on the surface of the fountain, which can then contaminate the water being dispensed.


It is important to note that not all airports have water quality issues, and many take measures to maintain clean and safe drinking water for passengers. However, it can be challenging for travelers to determine the level of water quality at each airport they pass through. This uncertainty raises concerns about consuming water from airport taps and fountains.


Drinking contaminated water can have negative health effects, ranging from mild gastrointestinal discomfort to more serious illnesses caused by bacteria or viruses. It is especially crucial for individuals with compromised immune systems or existing health conditions to be cautious about the water they consume.


To mitigate these potential health risks, it is recommended to use filtered or bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth during your time at the airport. If you need to fill up your own water bottle, ensure that you have a reliable filter system or access to bottled water that meets your desired standards of safety and quality.


By being mindful of the potential health concerns and taking proactive measures to protect yourself, you can ensure that you stay hydrated without compromising your well-being during your travels. Consider carrying a portable water filter or purchasing bottled water from a trusted source to alleviate any worries about the quality of airport water.


Remember, your health and safety should always be a priority, even when it comes to something as seemingly simple as drinking water. So, take the necessary precautions and make informed choices to stay hydrated and healthy throughout your journey.


Environmental Impact of Purchasing Bottled Water at Airports

While the convenience of purchasing bottled water at airports is undeniable, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of this choice. The rise in single-use plastic waste has become a global concern, and airports contribute to this issue through the excessive consumption of plastic water bottles.


Every year, millions of plastic water bottles are purchased and discarded at airports worldwide. These bottles end up in landfills, take hundreds of years to decompose, or worse, contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution in our oceans and ecosystems.


The manufacturing process of plastic water bottles also contributes to environmental degradation. The production of these bottles requires significant amounts of water, energy, and fossil fuels, emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Furthermore, the transportation of these bottles from manufacturing plants to airports also adds to carbon emissions and air pollution.


The disposal of plastic water bottles at airports poses another challenge. While some airports have recycling programs in place, not all travelers dispose of their bottles properly. This leads to bottles being thrown in regular waste bins, ending up in landfills where they take up valuable space and contribute to environmental harm.


Additionally, the recycling process for plastic bottles is not always efficient or sustainable. The recycling rate for plastic bottles globally is relatively low, with many bottles ending up being incinerated or downcycled into lower-grade products. This means that even if you do dispose of your bottle in a recycling bin at the airport, there is no guarantee that it will actually be recycled and given a new life.


By purchasing bottled water at airports, we inadvertently support this cycle of plastic waste and contribute to the environmental issues associated with it. However, by making more conscious choices, we can reduce our impact.


One of the most effective ways to mitigate the environmental impact is to bring your own reusable water bottle. Investing in a durable, BPA-free water bottle allows you to fill it up at water fountains or refill stations, eliminating the need to purchase single-use plastic bottles. This simple switch can greatly reduce the amount of plastic waste generated at airports.


Furthermore, airports can also play a significant role in addressing this issue. They can implement measures to reduce the use of plastic water bottles, such as providing more water fountains or refill stations, promoting reusable bottles through airport shops, and even partnering with water filter companies to offer free filtered water stations for travelers.


By collectively taking action, both as individuals and as airports, we can significantly reduce the environmental impact of purchasing bottled water at airports. Making the switch to reusable bottles not only helps conserve resources and reduce plastic pollution, but it also sets a positive example for others to follow.


So, let’s take a step towards a greener future by saying no to single-use plastic water bottles at airports. Together, we can make a difference and contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly travel experience.


Alternatives to Buying Water at the Airport

Instead of succumbing to the high prices and environmental impact of purchasing water at the airport, there are several alternatives that can help you stay hydrated throughout your journey.


Firstly, consider bringing your own reusable water bottle. Before you leave for the airport, fill your bottle with water or bring it empty and fill it up once you pass through security. Many airports now have designated water fountains or refill stations where you can easily replenish your bottle. This option not only saves you money but also reduces the amount of single-use plastic waste generated.


Alternatively, if you don’t have a reusable water bottle on hand, consider purchasing bottled water from outside the airport before or after your flight. Many convenience stores or grocery stores offer a wide range of options at more affordable prices compared to airport retailers. By planning ahead, you can ensure that you have a supply of water without breaking the bank.


If you prefer a filtered water option, consider investing in a portable water filter or purification system. These compact devices are designed to remove impurities and can be used to filter tap water or water from fountains. They provide an extra layer of assurance regarding water quality, allowing you to stay hydrated while minimizing plastic waste.


Another alternative is to opt for beverages other than water. Many airports have cafes or juice bars that offer a variety of refreshing and hydrating drinks. From freshly squeezed juices to herbal teas, these options can quench your thirst while providing a flavorful and enjoyable alternative to plain water.


Additionally, if you’re traveling during the colder months or to destinations where water availability may be limited, consider packing your own hydration alternatives. For instance, bringing along herbal tea bags, powdered hydration mixes, or electrolyte tablets can provide a flavorful and convenient way to stay hydrated without relying solely on water.


Lastly, prioritize staying hydrated before you even arrive at the airport. Ensure you are well-hydrated in the days leading up to your trip, as well as during your travel preparations. By maintaining proper hydration levels before your journey, you can minimize the need for excessive water intake at the airport.


By exploring and utilizing these alternatives, you can avoid the inconvenience, high costs, and environmental impact of purchasing water at the airport. Remember, it’s essential to stay hydrated during your travels, but there are smarter and more sustainable ways to do so.


So, the next time you find yourself in an airport, be proactive and opt for one of these alternatives to ensure you stay hydrated without compromising your budget or the environment.



After exploring the convenience, cost, health concerns, and environmental impact of purchasing water at the airport, it’s clear that there are valid reasons to reconsider this common practice. While the allure of convenience may tempt us to buy water at the airport, it’s essential to balance our needs with practicality and sustainability.


By bringing our own reusable water bottles, we can enjoy the convenience of staying hydrated without the exorbitant prices and environmental repercussions. Not only does this alternative save us money, but it also allows us to have control over the quality of the water we consume. Additionally, investing in portable water filters or purchasing water from outside sources can provide further options for maintaining hydration without relying on airport offerings.


Considering the potential health concerns associated with airport water quality and the detrimental impact of plastic water bottle waste, it’s crucial for both individuals and airports to take action. By promoting and facilitating the use of reusable bottles, implementing more water fountains and refill stations, and raising awareness about the environmental consequences, we can work towards a greener and more sustainable travel experience.


In conclusion, the choice to buy water at the airport should be weighed against the alternatives available to us. By planning ahead, investing in reusable bottles, and being mindful of our environmental impact, we can make a positive difference while traveling. It’s not only a matter of saving money; it’s also about preserving our planet for future generations.


So, let’s put an end to the habit of buying water at the airport and embrace the smarter, more sustainable options available to us. By making conscious choices, we can stay hydrated, save money, protect our health, and contribute to a cleaner, greener world.