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Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Are Being Injured By ‘Exploding’ Coca-Cola Cans as Summer Heats Soar

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Are Being Injured By ‘Exploding’ Coca-Cola Cans as Summer Heats Soar

a blue airplane with a broken can

Flight attendants at Southwest Airlines say they are being injured by exploding Coca-Cola cans in what is turning into a daily occurrence as summer temperatures soar across the United States, crew members at the Dallas-based carrier claim.

What might seem like a pretty unusual phenomenon is reportedly a regular occurrence at Southwest and the airline accepts that it has an issue with exploding drinks cans which it is now trying to address.

In a special Facebook group for flight attendants, one Southwest crew member recently asked whether flight attendants at other airlines had similar experiences with exploding drinks cans, but other members of the group were dumbfounded by the issue.

One theory being shared by concerned Southwest flight attendants is that the issue of exploding Coke cans is down to rising summer temperatures and the way that the airline provisions its planes for the next flight.

Most airlines use chilled drinks carts, which are loaded and unloaded directly from a aircraft catering truck. Drink cans are kept cool within the cart and dry ice is often used to keep temperatures cool even as the mercury outside continues to rise in summer hotspots like Phoenix.

But Southwest has a slightly different way of loading new stock on its aircraft and doesn’t use chilled drinks carts. Instead, the airline simply delivers whatever drinks are required onto the countertop and these are stored in special stowages within the galley.

These cans are stored outside of an unchilled catering cart, meaning that the liquid inside can rise to a really high temperature. Flight attendants fear that this excessive heat is causing the exploding drinks can phenomenon.

Sources at Southwest Airlines say the cause of exploding drinks cans can’t be pinpointed to just one factor like high temperatures but the airline says it is aware of the issue and has already begun taking steps in an attempt to mitigate the issue – especially at airports that experience high temperatures.

One flight attendant shared a photo of a colleague who had suffered a horrific cut due to an exploding drinks can which required multiple stitches. Others said they were always on edge over fears that they could be next to be seriously injured by an exploding drinks can.

The issue does appear to be isolated to Southwest, with flight attendants at other airlines saying they had never experienced anything similar in decades of flying. Thankfully, Southwest is taking steps to stop this issue but if you hear a bang on your next Southwest flight, it could well be an exploding drinks can.

View Comments (2)
  • Yeah, purely a function of the way Southwest provisions (don’t use “cater”, they “provision”) airplanes. They keep soda in the trucks even sitting outside with no temperature control… sometimes you even see it sitting outside in the sun on top of the provisioning stairs they roll up to the aft door at smaller locations. Sounds like something their safety/risk management department of like 800 people should have envisioned… then again, this is how it was done in 1980 in San Antonio, so it must be the best way….

  • The coke cans are usually made with less carbon. So at altitude they can handle the pressure. If they got cans meant for stores and not flying they may contain higher carbon

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