DID YOU KNOW: Why Do Aircraft Still Have Ashtrays?


Have you ever noticed a tiny box with a cigarette sign while being in the lavatory on a plane? Why airlines incorporate ashtrays in their aircraft if smoking has been prohibited long time ago?

If you haven’t seen an ashtray in the aircraft, we will give you a hint where you can find it: just look on the entry side of the lavatory door. Don’t think that you have just found the only place where you are allowed to smoke. Right above the ashtray you may sometimes find a non-smoking sign. You might get confused but the explanation is quite clear and easy to understand.

The fact is that inflight smoking is fully prohibited by almost all airlines. US airlines have banned smoking in 1988 (yes, that long ago!). This ban on the inflight smoking was introduced after 123 passengers died during their flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. The pilot was forced to make a crash landing right after one passenger decided to smoke and threw a cigarette into the rubbish bin of the toilet, it caused a fire. This serious accident has forced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement a new restriction on inflight smoking.

Unfortunately, some determined smokers may sometimes break the non-smoking rule. That is why it is a legal requirement to have an ashtray in every lavatory of the aircraft. Instead of throwing a cigarette into a waste bin it is safer to put it into ashtray and to eliminate the fire risk.

Although now you know the answer, we still highly encourage you not to break the rule. It will not only cost you a fine (up to 4300 EUR) but also you may be arrested right after you land.