back to article Captain's coffee calamity causes transatlantic flight diversion

A Condor flight to Mexico was forced to turn back over the Atlantic after a spilled coffee caused one of its radios to start melting. CFG116, an 11-hour flight between Frankfurt and Cancún, was cut short after the captain knocked his cuppa over himself and the radio panel on his Airbus A330's centre console. The spillage …

  1. TRT Silver badge
    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      The push button cup holder tray on my computer doesn't seem to fit most coffee cups either...

      1. Montreal Sean

        My laptop is too cheap to have a cupholder. :(

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "issued a contract for the supply of coffee-cup lids and ordered cabin crew to fit them before letting pilots loose with hot drinks."

    Somehow I don't think this is a good alternative to having liquid-proof controls in the first place.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Well let's hope they don't look to, say, the US Navy for ideas about implementing waterproof control interfaces.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Yes shocking that a device is such a position is not at least splash resistant. It would cost peanuts relatively speaking to the cost of the hardware.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Is it also peanut proof?

      2. MiguelC Silver badge

        No arguing that controls should be splash-resistant, but lids on hot beverages are a must in such a scenario. Humans tend not to react in a most measured way when drenched in hot coffee.

      3. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        It is normally splash proof, water-resistance is even part of the EASA/FAA requirements for aircraft of that weight class. It sounds like a technician failed to install the foam/plastic sealing layer when they last serviced the ACPs. Or the pilot might have spilled a lot more liquid on it than reported.

        I interned at Thales's returns department when I was in school getting my Electrical Engineering degree (The group I interned with evaluated returned avionics to identify common failures). We received a lot of returned avionics systems that were missing their seals even though we include 2-3 in each of our service kits.

    3. Dwarf Silver badge


      How do coffee cup lids prevent a spill ?

      They need a hole for the contents to be consumed and at that point its no longer waterproof (fluid proof), then it will still spill out.

      The only reason the coffee cup lids came out is because that's the standard fix from anyone in the elf-in-safety department to fluid issues. I always get puzzled at this point, since the same team doesn't have a problem with everyone stuffing their manky sucked to death water bottle neck onto the communal water tap and filling their bottle - since there is never enough height to put the bottle in without it touching.

      Surely this is worse than the H&S concerns about shared head sets and ear pieces.(but not phone handsets that are in the same places on the same orifices on someones body - go figure)

      Back on topic : I guess H&S couldn't find a way of mapping the "don't overload a socket" rule either, even though that's more appropriate in this case given what happened.

      In any case, you can't overload a mains socket in the UK, since its got a fuse in its plug to prevent exactly that.. not that anyone in H&S can understand that when you explain that along with how currents flow in circuits - since it doesn't match whats in their little rule book that they were trained to apply ferociously to all situations.

      Point is - many of the H&S rules are nearly as stupid as the person trying to enforce them.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Elf-in-Safety

        >In any case, you can't overload a mains socket in the UK, since its got a fuse in its plug to prevent exactly that

        Just swap it for a nail, problem solved.

        Who's got my Etherkiller?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Elf-in-Safety

          not got a nail? a bullet might fit...

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Elf-in-Safety

        Lids work perfectly. Those double handled sippy cups for toddlers - the modern ones have some sort of internal membrane that acts as a check valve so that the little darlings can't spill their ribena all over the white shagpile carpet.

        So just give the clumsy pilot those.

      3. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Elf-in-Safety

        you can't overload a mains socket in the UK

        Online fire safety training at work included one page which stated quite clearly - with pictures - that the maximum current you should take from a UK socket is 16A. I did point out the mistake to H&S but it was still there the next year. This year they changed training provider...

        ...I hate those online training things. There is no option just to take the test - you have to click through every flippin' link on every flippin' page before you are allowed to start the test, a process which takes 30 minutes or more even for something simple like fire safety.


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Elf-in-Safety

          > Online fire safety training at work included one page which stated quite clearly - with pictures - that the maximum current you should take from a UK socket is 16A. I did point out the mistake to H&S but it was still there the next year. This year they changed training provider...

          Go on then, I'll bite. Why do you think this is wrong?

          UK ring main is 2.5mm^2 cable which can take a sustained 16A. There is a ring, which gives another 16A coming the other way, but only if the ring is directly connected to the socket. If there is a tap or drop cable from the ring to the socket then the tap will only be 2.5mm^2 wires so limiting the current to 16A or the tap will overheat. So, unless you happen to know exactly how the socket is wired, the 16A value is a safe one.

          Of course, with enough electric heaters it is possible to overload the ring without overloading any one socket, but I don't think that was the point the training course was trying to make.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            BS1363 is quite clear

            The maximum rating of a single BS1363 plug & socket is 13A. The standard is quite explicit.

            The BS1362 fuse is however quite slow blowing, you can draw rather more amps for quite a long time before it'll blow.

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: BS1363 is quite clear

              Absolutely. You should not try to draw more than 13A from a single BS1363 socket, even if you know what you are doing - and I do, and I once did for reasons I needn't go into here (nothing caught fire). Yes, the 13A cartridge fuse is unlikely to blow (quickly) at 16A. It will probably blow eventually (I don't have the BS7671 tables to hand right now) but it will get very hot in the meantime.

              Being pedantic, the 2.5mm2 cable used to wire ring final circuits in the UK is capable of carrying anywhere up to 27A quite safely, but that depends on exactly how it is installed and in most domestic situations it is downrated to 21A. And unless the socket is exactly half way around the ring, you will never get balanced currents so you can't simply say that 2x21A = 42A is available at the socket.

              The training material (and I took a screenshot) was simply wrong for the UK, though it has to be said that other European countries have 16A radials and unfused appliance connectors so drawing 16A from a single socket is entirely feasible and (probably - assuming everything is wired correctly) perfectly safe.


              1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

                Re: BS1363 is quite clear

                Just to be clear - a fuse that is rated at 13A means that it should *not* blow if a sustained 13A flows through it. The current at which it will *definitely* blow (eventually) is something higher than that. There should be a currnt/time graph available for any particular fuse which will show you how long it will take a fuse to blow at any particular current above its rating - though there are external factors that can affect it considerably, such as ambient temperature, vibration level and the age and history of the fuse.

                Also, drawing a sustained current close to the fuse rating will cause the fuse to get very hot (after all, the wire has to be be close to its melting point). Which is why you will find the live pin on a UK plug that is carrying a high current (e.g. 2KW heater) gets extremely hot (often enough to melt or discolour the plastic of both plug & socket), while the neutral pin (which has been carrying the same current) remains cool.

      4. intrigid

        Re: Elf-in-Safety

        IANAE, but I don't see why you couldn't have some push-button type mechanism in a screw-on lid that releases the seal and allows liquid to flow. Accidentally knock the vessel over, no problem, the button isn't pushed and the seal remains intact, with the screw threads keeping the lid securely in place.

        In fact, I'm pretty sure I _have_ a receptacle at home that is almost identical to what I just described.

    4. NoneSuch Silver badge


      Chocolate covered coffee beans.

      All the caffeine, none of the liquid, perfect for long duration travel.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Chocolate covered coffee beans

        And not good if a rabbit somehow gets on board.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Simples...

        Kopiko. Indonesian coffee-based sweets.

        With enough caffeine in them that two or three are equivalent to an average cup of coffee.

        And the issue now changing to the wrappers jamming some control.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Simples...

        Chocolate covered coffee beans

        Eww. Go straight to migraine city. Do not pass go, do not lose half your vision or vomit copiously.

        I can tolerate some coffee (1 latte/day is fine - filter or instant coffe not so fine) and I can eat choloate (plain by preference - less sugar). The combo of coffee-bean and chocolate? Not happening agin any time soon.

    5. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Correctly-sized cups would probably introduce another problem

      “Condor would like to apologize to passengers for the continuing delay to this flight. We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of large paper coffee cups for your crew's comfort, refreshment and alertness during the journey. Meanwhile we thank you for your patience. Cabin crew will shortly be serving coffee and biscuits again.”

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: Correctly-sized cups would probably introduce another problem

        How's our stock of lemon soaked paper napkins, looking Number 1?

        Icon - Zarniwoops (Receptionist).

  3. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Pedant mode

    Technically it wasn't the radio the coffee was spilt on it was the Audio Control Panel, which lets the crew choose which of the radios to listen to, which of those they'll reply to when they press the transmit button etc. The actual radios will be big boxes elsewhere in the aircraft.

    The end result is the same though in that the crew wouldn't be able to talk to anyone.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Pedant mode

      Upvote. You beat me to it. Sometimes I wonder if about the writers' tech knowledge here abouts.

      Sidenote... no mention if the pilot screamed when the hot coffee hit is lap.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Pedant mode

        if the pilot screamed when the hot coffee hit is lap

        Or whether they sued the airline for emotional distress..

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Overcurrent protection?

    I would have thought there should have been something in the wiring to cut the power before controls start melting!

    1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

      Re: Overcurrent protection?

      I thought that too. If protection circuits are good enough for anything between cheap USB chargers, and premium mobile phones - why not aircraft modules?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Overcurrent protection?

        Probably wasn't part of the spec - "don't worry, we'll put in cupholders so this module will never get wet!"

    2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      Re: Overcurrent protection?

      There is supposed to be a circuit breaker for the ACPs. But sounds like Airbus bundled the power supply for the ACP with some other devices instead of giving them their own breaker, like they should. I sure hope they didn't bundle it in with the radios themselves, since that provides a failure mode where a malfunctioning ACP could cause all three radios to die at once.

      1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: Overcurrent protection?

        200W of power sent to a forced-air heatsink or an external connection isn't the same as 200W of power in a little section of circuits behind an over caffeinated voltage regulator. Breakers stop wiring harness fires but not much else.

    3. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Overcurrent protection?

      Airbus didn't think the control sticks needed any feedback about what the other pilot was doing with theirs which was partly responsible for the AF447 crash. So given that complete and utter lack of awareness of how human beings think and act its no surprise to me they never thought that one day someone might spill a drink over the controls and so they should make them liquid resistant.

    4. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Overcurrent protection?

      The question implies no understanding of the basic physics of electrical circuits. Fire can occur when there has been no increase in current - in fact the current can be less than when the circuit is working properly.

      e.g. A faulty light switch that has high resistance contacts can burst into flames even though the current flow is *lower* than the current through a non-faulty switch. Because power = I2R. So long as *either* current is zero *or* resistance is zero, there is no power dissipated by the switch, and so no heating.

      This is true not only of mechanical switches, but of transistors used as a switch. These are designed to be either fully on or fully off. Spilling coffee between gate and source of a FET can cause it to *partially* conduct, and that FET which will stay cold when passing 10A when fully turned on will reach very high temperatures if it is passing just 500mA while only partially turned on. With no overload of its input current whatsoever. Making nearby wires smell, smoke & burn.

  5. Oengus Silver badge

    Mandatory A330 upgrade

    Newsflash: Today Airbus issued a technical advisory requiring all operators to immediatly install upgraded cup holders on all A330s (and other Airbus aircraft). Because the cupholders have been redesigned to ensure that they can handle the largest cups only Starbucks Trenta sized coffee cups can be used on Airbus aircraft.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Mandatory A330 upgrade

      If it had a been on a Boeing, they would have glued a cardboard rim around the cup holder to allow bigger cups, self certified the 'upgrade' and charged $100K per cup.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Mandatory A330 upgrade

        And suggested it was the foreign pilots fault for not doing an immediate barrel roll when he knocked over the coffee to make it fall upwards

      2. theblackhand Silver badge

        Re: Mandatory A330 upgrade

        "self certified the 'upgrade' and charged $100K per cup"

        And allowed an option on the sales configurator tool to remove critical safety equipment as a way of offsetting the $100K cost

      3. Tomato Krill

        Re: Mandatory A330 upgrade

        No they'd have installed a quick release catch that deposits the coffee over the pilots lap at a given (angle of attack OR AoA sensor failure) and told nobody about it

    2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Mandatory A330 upgrade

      Read the description again. The problem was not that the cups were too large (wtf ? An airline using larger cups than necessary) but that not enough of the rim was accessible in the cup holder. i.e., the cup was too small and sat too low.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sheepskin seat covers

    Do they also have fluffy dice in the windscreen and a "Kevin and Stacey" sunstrip in the window?

    1. Swiss Anton

      Re: Sheepskin seat covers

      My A320 does, it also has one of those nodding bulldogs that came with the insurance.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Sheepskin seat covers

        The size of your parcel shelf, I'm surprised you haven't got an actual dog.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "Fuel had to be jettisoned"

    Great. So, for one cup of coffee not placed in its proper cupholder (for some asinine excuse), a control panel or two will have to be replaced, electrical components will have to be replaced, and tens of thousands of dollars in fuel have been wasted.

    That is a shoe-in for the Most Expensive Coffee Ever award.

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: "Fuel had to be jettisoned"

      Does that come to more than $640,000?

      If not then McDonalds are still the winners of that award!

      1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        Re: "Fuel had to be jettisoned"

        The cost of the repairs, fuel, accommodations / new fares for the now-stranded passengers, finding another aircraft to handle the routes this aircraft was supposed to fly, and reputational damage will easily blow past the $640,000 cost, might even exceed $6,400,000 when all is said and done.

    2. Imhotep

      Re: "Fuel had to be jettisoned"

      Probably will end up costing more than a couple of Starbuck's Ventes.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: "Fuel had to be jettisoned"

      tens of thousands of dollars in fuel have been wasted

      Not to mention the pollution caused by jettisoning that amount of fuel!

  8. defiler Silver badge

    Cup-holding it wrong

    So the cockpit crew are using the same cups as the passengers? Fair enough. But those cups don't fit in the cockpit cup holders? That's a bit stupid.

    Surely ill-fitting cups with lids is a worse idea than either using the correct cups throughout the plane or having interposers in the cockpit cup holders to shim them down to the size for the cups they use.

    Neither would be as expensive as turning a long-haul plane around.

    Also, I've broken 1000 upvotes! Thanks! /me feels warm and fuzzy.

    1. cookieMonster

      Re: Cup-holding it wrong

      Congratulations on the 1000, just given you one more for the collection, and since it's Friday, have a pint as well.

    2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Cup-holding it wrong

      Hey, you're supposed to have at least 2000 upvotes for a Silver badge! Whose hand did you grease to receive these undue privileges?

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Cup-holding it wrong

        Sorry, everyone. Posting on my phone which decided that 1000 was quite impressive. It's 10000.

        And that means I've annoyed 10× as many of you as previously indicated.

        To the bar!!

        1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

          Re: Cup-holding it wrong

          Have another one towards your next target (100 000!)

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Cup-holding it wrong

          Ooo, the temptation to downvote you is so strong... Are you near to any significant downvote milestones that I can help with?

          Disclosure: I'm miles from anything significant in upvotes. But a mere 8 more downvotes will get me to 2,900. Or 108 for the full 3k.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Cup-holding it wrong

            I'm pretty sure that no one will be Bombastic Bob for the downvote total.

          2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: Cup-holding it wrong

            Too many! Now I need the rest of the hundred downvotes to make up the numbers...

      2. earl grey Silver badge

        Re: Cup-holding it wrong

        Whose hand did you grease...

        That wasn't a hand.

    3. Trygve Henriksen

      Re: Cup-holding it wrong

      Except that the passengers only have the regular fold-out table with a circular depression where they're supposed to place a cup, a waterglass or possibly a soda can, while the pilots have proper cup holders. Why not give them proper thermos mugs, with a button on the lid for open and close?

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Cup-holding it wrong

        Who needs a cup ? Give them an intravenous supply.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cup-holding it wrong

      "Also, I've broken 1000 upvotes! Thanks! /me feels warm and fuzzy."

      First of all, congrats on your promotion to Silver!

      Interestingly, I had just read this article last night regarding the mental health aspects of same:

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cup-holding it wrong

      Also, I've broken 1000 upvotes! Thanks!

      /me feels warm and fuzzy.

      Well done. I'm trying to get past 10k downvotes, but I reckon I'll need to do some serious trolling to get the 300+ votes I need for that (I'm up somewhere over 60k, but that's just boring), the main challenge is that I don't like trolling.

      Oh well, seriously adverse opinions work too, criticising Microsoft ensures that the Redmond stooges here will do the work for me :).

  9. Twanky Bronze badge

    Electronics and hot drinks don't mix

    Electronics and cold cola are not a great combination either.

    icon: seemed appropriate --->

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least they didn't eat the fish.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    coffee cups

    At $dayjob I get a free travel coffee mug with company branding whenever the latest hairbrained executive initiative comes along. Shirley airlines can spring for nice cups for aircrew.

    Waterproof panels are a nice idea, but you know what else reacts poorly when doused with hot coffee? Humans.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: coffee cups

      Dosed with hot coffee on the other hand...

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: coffee cups

      Why not waterproof trousers as well? Oh and can they do waterproof wipe clean plastic stewardesses uniforms while they're at it. To match the PVC nurses uniforms you can already get.

      Asking for a friend...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: coffee cups

        Forget the uniforms, stewardesses are naturally wipe-clean without them. Or so I've heard...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: coffee cups

      Ironically, it seems to be the budget airlines that do such things. The local air taxi, sight seeing, regional, and charter operations I've worked for gave out tumblers with company logos on them, but the big luxury airlines don't.

      In my experience, using such containers would be cheaper since the airline wouldn't have to issue nearly as many replacement uniform shirts (Although they could also save some money by moving away from the over-done 'early 20th century ship captain' aesthetic with white shirts that are ridiculously easy to stain. Fuck you very much PanAm for that bullshit...)

  12. AceRimmer1980
    IT Angle

    We had a choice, tea or coffee

    Yes I remember, I had cocoa.

  13. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    The good news is that the coffee spill occurred before the cockpit crew could be served dinner.

    Chicken, or fish?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: The good news is that the coffee spill occurred before the cockpit crew could be served dinner.

      What about the Admiral's Pie?

      He's not a fussy eater then, the admiral?

  14. Do Not Fold Spindle Mutilate

    Turbulance would throw the coffee cup in a cup holder all over the place.

    If the pilots put on the seat belt sign because there might be turbulence do they also belt down their coffee cups? When things get thrown around the passenger area are things thrown around the cockpit also? (Do pilots get airsick?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Turbulance would throw the coffee cup in a cup holder all over the place.

      The cup holder in airlines is recessed into the armrest, so if it spills, it doesn't really get anywhere. On a lot of modern airliners, you'll have turbulence prediction built into the Doppler radar display, so most pilots will down the last of their coffee before getting close. Or if weather is predicted, they'll abstain from coffee in the air altogether. But most professional pilots will just use a thermos / travel mug that fits into the cup holder, usually so they can get good-quality coffee in the terminal rather than the crap they serve in-flight.

      And, yes, pilots do get airsick sometimes, but they'll either learn how to deal with it in training / early career. If not, they tend to just wash out of school and work in a non-flying capacity (Flight planner, air traffic control, mechanic, etc). Being in control of the aircraft will also reduce airsickness, purely a psychosomatic effect, though.

  15. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Whatever happened to shrug shoulders, keep upper lip stiff, and press on for Portugal Mexico?

  16. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    The idiots

    On BBC Radio1 and more recently other channels have been moaning about not being allowed food or drink in their studios.

    I know its stupid but in the UK you could, if it was a jobsworth cop, get charged for at least driving without undue care and attention if you decided to take a sip. If you crash that's dangerous driving.

    If you damage company property say a laptop by soaking it in coffee, it's an accident... Until someone decides it isn't.

    I drink coffee at my desk and while driving, doubt it will damage anything that will make the car fail the MOT.

    I wouldn't take it in the server room though.

    If I was flying a plane... May as well allow smoking as well, used to be fine and sure there is mostly no harm to the equipment.

    1. 9Rune5 Silver badge

      Re: The idiots

      I wouldn't take it in the server room though.

      That is not what the bride said.

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: The idiots

      "I drink coffee at my desk and while driving..."

      How do you change gears, indicate, put the handbrake on....?

    3. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: May as well allow smoking as well, used to be fine

      No no no!

      Smoking in commercial passenger aircraft used to require faster circulation and replacement of cabin air. Bannin smoking meant that air could be recirculated less often, thus reducing costs for airlines.

      Yes, that's right. Air quality in passenger cabins has actually become worse since they banned smoking.

      But on the bright side, we've seen a welcome increase in DVT cases, which apparently are more common with oxygen reduced cabin air.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: The idiots

      I wouldn't take it in the server room though

      At most places I've worked, taking drinks into the server room is a severe disciplinary offence with an option for immediate sacking.

      (Plus - going out of the server room lets your hands warm up so that you can feel your fingers again)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The SR-71, F-5, F/A-18, F-117, B-1, B-2 AND NX Aurora come with two fully gimballed cup holders, with an adjustable fitting to fit *any* size cup or flask and drinks containment mechanisms precisely for this reason.

    And a "Hot Coffee ALERT!" feature to reduce the chances of burnination.

  18. Jeffrey Nonken

    Type "spill proof coffee mug" or "travel mug" into your favorite search engine and stand well back.

    Or you can just, you know, spill coffee and ruin hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of delicate aviation electronics and divert an expensive commercial airplane flight, throw away expensive fuel, piss off customers... because, you know, that would be easier than buying a $25 mug from Starbucks.

    Some of the comments suggest that all the electronics should be liquid-proofed. Something that's easy to say, but could cost millions in R&D and easily add thousands to the cost of each device. Or, you know. $25 travel mugs.

    (Lest you think I'm exaggerating... Feh. Never mind. Just assume I'm exaggerating.)

  19. spold Silver badge

    Cheap airline syndrome

    A better airline would have starched serviettes, a tablecloth, ideally some scones and cucumber sandwiches on a paper doily. All of these would provide superior absorption to prevent this sort of thing happening.

    1. AceRimmer1980

      Re: Cheap airline syndrome

      Only the first class pilots get that.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Actually this was considered, without going into too much detail as may be covered under OSA the reason is to do with equipment being quite old and often using fairly dated power management to pass certs.

    You can't just retrofit new equipment as it would require expen$ive recertification and other action similar to medical equipment.

    Believe most now have a secondary backup with its own independent power source but maybe it wasn't working?

  21. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge

    Squeeze bottles?

    I hate squeeze bottles, hate them. They are hard to clean, some leave taste (hey, that was 20 years since I used one), and they are a nuisance overall. But I'd rather use one if I was a pilot. And get my caffeine hit on something that goes on a squeeze, like power drinks, I don't know.

    Beer icon, because they can't be served on squeezes. Neither they can be served to pilots on duty.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Squeeze bottles?

      Beers certainly CAN be served to pilots on duty or about to go on duty -- otherwise, there wouldn't be cases of pissed-up aircrew being nicked shortly before boarding an aircraft they're rostered to fly half-way round the world with 350 pax in the back.

  22. FuzzyTheBear

    Why use that ?

    Plenty bottles for drinks come with a liquid tight lid that can be tossed and used even in bed and never leak a drop.

    Using anything else in a cockpit is plain stupid imho. Maybe buy a few of these and have the problem solved forever sounds too good ?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The answer is staring Airbus in the face. Add a button to the console that completely fills the cockpit with uncooked rice. Worked when my old Blackberry went for a swim.

  24. Pen-y-gors Silver badge


    Standard operating procedure when spilling coffee on a keyboard - put it upside down on the radiator for a few hours. N.B. Doesn't work if you have sugar.

    Couldn't they just loop the loop to drain the coffee out and then use a hairdryer (option B)

    1. Bendacious

      Re: Drying?

      If that doesn't work at cruising altitude the outside temperature can be around -45°, so they could just open the cockpit window. The coffee will immediately freeze and can then be chipped off. I can't see a downside.

  25. earl grey Silver badge

    they should have been covered

    A thin plastic, rubber, or sheepskin cover would do. No chance of a spill during your mile high club trip.

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Neoc

    "the captain said enough was enough, declared a mayday and turned around for the nearest safe airport"

    I do hope this is artistic licence on the part of the writer. The situation did not qualify for a "mayday" (immediate danger of loss of life or the craft itself), at most it was a "pan-pan" (safety of the craft is in serious jeopardy but no immediate danger exists). The captain could get in serious trouble if he incorrectly declares a "mayday".

  28. Tom Paine Silver badge

    But where...

    Where do you fit a coffee cup lid to a pilot?

    Childish minds want to know.

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