Smoking is completely forbidden on planes. However, the toilet doors have got an ashtray fixed there. What’s the point?
Cigarettes behind plane disasters
Cigarettes were present aboard ever since planes got invented. You could smoke either on your seat or in the toilet. It all changed in 1973. Boeing 707 flying from Rio de Janeiro crashed near the Paris-Orly airport. Only 11 passengers survived (out 134 people aboard). Investigation conducted afterwards revealed that the accident had been caused by a fire in the toilet started by a cigarette thrown into the garbage can.
Deadly smoke poisoning
Another accident took place in January 1998. One of passengers aboard an Olympic Air plane was highly sensitive to tobacco smoke and died there. The widow was awarded damages of 1.4 million dollars. And this is when actions were finally taken.
In 1980’s and 1990’s American airlines began to gradually get rid of cigarettes aboard their planes (the complete ban has been in force there since 2000). In the European Union cigarettes have been prohibited on planes since 1997.
An ashtray remains
In spite of complete smoking ban the toilet doors still have got ashtrays. This is an obligatory part of equipment – an aircraft will not be licensed to operate without it. The ashtrays there are just in case. It is to allow the insubordinate passengers to put out the cigarettes if they decide to smoke in the toilet. It’s much safer than throwing it into the garbage can.
The amount of the penalty for smoking aboard varies from country to country. In the most extreme case, failure to observe the rule might result in being banned from flying with a given airline for life.