Why Are There Ashtrays Installed On Planes?

Why Are There Ashtrays Installed On Planes?

No smoking in plane - Aircraft Nerds
No Smoking sign on plane - Wikimedia

Anyone who has traveled by air knows that one cannot light a smoke on an aircraft without facing some serious consequences, which include, a fine (up to 5000$) and/or being detained, at the worst, arrested.

So why then are there ashtrays installed on planes you ask?

Well, the answer is fairly simple. Ashtrays are installed on planes so that if there is an event of a passenger or staff lighting one up on a flight, there should be a safe place to put it out.

You may be thinking as to why anyone would go through the trouble of performing such a foolish task, but in reality, there are several instances where passengers have been booked for doing so.
In fact, up until 1990, people could smoke freely on flights without the fear of being prosecuted. So having ashtrays on planes was mandatory.

Even after the ban, it is mandatory to have an ashtray installed on a plane otherwise it is not allowed to take off. The Code of Federal Regulations states that, 
' Regardless of whether smoking is allowed in any other part of the airplane, lavatories must have self-contained, removable ashtrays located conspicuously on or near the entry side of each lavatory door, except that one ashtray may serve more than one lavatory door if the ashtray can be seen readily from the cabin side of each lavatory served

Aircraft Lavatory door Ashtray - Aircraft Nerds
Lavatory door ashtray - Wikimedia

This rule is strictly followed because back in 1982, CAAC FLIGHT 2311, Ilyushin Il-18B  was completely destroyed by a fire that was started by a passengers cigarette. Luckily the fire started when the plane was on the runway and not while it was in the air. Unfortunately, there were several casualties.

Similar to aircraft which crashed due to passenger smoking - Aircraft Nerds
 Ilyushin Il-18B - Wikimedia

So, there you have it. Now you know why every modern day plane comes with an ashtray installed. Next time you’re on a long flight with no good movie running, share this trivia with your co passengers.

Thank you for reading


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