Aviation Explained: Why Airplanes Still Have Ashtrays 

Often times many passengers walk on-board an aircraft and head directly to the lavatory. One of the first things they notice either on or adjacent to the lavatory door on most aircraft is an ashtray. Coincidentaly the first thing that they proceed to think is that the aircraft they are on is quite old. Being that smoking has been what seems criminalized by the Federal Aviation Administration for a significant amount of time, I could understand mentality behind this thought.

However, rest assured that it is not an old airplane if it has a cigarette ashtray by the lavatory. Yes a lot of aircraft flying the friendly skies are older but this is not a good indication of how old a particular aircraft actualy is. According to some Federal Aviation Administration Regulation (FAR) all aircraft must have an ashtray adjacent within a certain amount of feet from a lavatory.

And why is this a rule if all flights are non-smoking nowadays you may wonder? It is actually there in place so that if some deviant decides to go ahead and smoke even though we have instructed you multiple times not too, there is an official place to put out the cigarette. Concurrently, the FAA does not consider a can full of soda or a bottle of water as a sufficiently safe place to put out that cigarette.

*Disclaimer: I am not in any way encouraging you to smoke on an airplane. Actually there are strict penalties and fines against this, and if you are caught you will be prosecuted by federal authorities who are known to make an example out of you.

Until next time,



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