In a safety alert issued January 3, the FAA warns operators to be diligent during in-flight preparation of coffee. Several airlines and individual flight attendants have reported cases of coffee-filter packages bursting and causing first and second degree burns to people standing nearby.
The apparent cause is a pressure build-up in the repacked coffee filter package while installed in the coffee pot drawer.
Signs of problems include water overflow from the brew drawer and a hissing noise. When the coffee pot handle is lifted, the coffee filter containing the hot coffee grounds can burst, causing burns to the face, neck, hands, arms and torso.
Operators should ensure the packages are not folded, use only one package per pot, and place the package in the brew-drawer seam side down. If the water begins to overflow from the basket or makes a hissing sound, step to the side, do not raise the handle, and turn off the unit using the on/off selector switch or circuit breaker.
After the coffee maker has been turned off, brief all crewmembers and follow appropriate maintenance procedures.