Passengers are left baffled as to why tempting ashtray canisters are still placed in flight toilets despite big red hazard signs warning against it. Some travellers believe ashtrays could be perceived as enticing passengers to smoke.
An anonymous flight attendant revealed to Express.co.uk the important reason why airlines still have ashtrays but gives a stark warning against anyone attempting to smoke during a flight.
The British airline hostess said: “Those little cigarette butts signs you see on the doors. They are not to encourage smoking. They are purely there for safety hazard prevention.
“In that, if someone was smoking on the aircraft, we would want them to put it out there because if you put it out in the toilet bin – there’s loads of paper in there… where people have been drying their hands…”
There would be a dangerous potential fire risk, “so we need to have a safe place for a cigarette butt to go”.
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She continued: “It’s essentially a metal contained flip box, so you would pull the top part, it would open up and there’s a small cavity where a cigarette butt could go because you would want to put it there instead of in the toilet bin filled with paper. Pretty smart!
“But don’t smoke on a plane, you will be put on a no-flight list and probably arrested… definitely arrested.”
In 1980 US airlines banned smoking on flights, with British Airways following suit on March 29, 1998.
According to the New York Post, one of the catalysts for the ban happened after a Brazilian airliner caught fire in 1973 while on approach to Paris after a transatlantic flight from Rio de Janeiro.
The incident saw 123 passengers killed when a cigarette was thrown in a toilet rubbish bin.
Now if a passenger were to smoke, that person could face a staggering fine which may involve paying all costs resulting from any disruption caused as a result of smoking, or much worse, the smoker could be arrested and detained once landed.
The hostess added: “Cigarettes are essentially a no-go item so if that ashtray is not connected to the door that should be reported and we should not be flying without it.”
Under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) direction, ashtrays should be installed on all toilet doors on planes because despite the constant warnings, red flags and punishments, there’s still a possibility an addicted stubborn passenger will smoke.
Airline ashtrays are there as a prevention, not an invitation.
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