Despite the longstanding ban, even newer planes continue to have ashtrays built into the bathroom doors on flights. TikTok user @flyingkaylee, who goes by Kaylee on the app, describes herself in her bio as a Canadian flight attendant who is ready to answer any and all questions about her job.
“Have you ever noticed that even new airplanes have ashtrays?” she asks in one TikTok. “Do you know why?”
Hundreds of viewers took to the comments to guess why planes still have ashtrays.
“[To] unlock the door if someone happens to be inside and needs medical attention?” one guessed.
Ultimately, the reason is, well, people don’t always listen to the rules. Ashtrays are still included on flights just in case someone decides they want to smoke in the bathroom and needs somewhere to safely put out the cigarette. Tossing a lit cigarette into the bathroom trash can could start an in-flight fire.
“Flight attendant here!” one commenter wrote. “It’s because people will try and break the rules. We prefer that they use ashtrays to hide their cigarettes instead of causing a fire hazard by hiding it in a small corner.”
“Bingo!” Kaylee replied.
The commenter went on to say that bathrooms are also equipped with smoke detectors, so it’s very difficult to get away with sneaking a cigarette mid-flight. Airplane smoke detectors also don’t go off in a traditional way because a sudden loud alarm could cause a panic — instead, the staff gets notified.
“I never said people were smart,” the commenter added. “They’re breaking a fire hazard rule [on] a plane, after all.”
“Also, if you put your cigarette out outside [of] the ashtray, you have an extra £500 fine,” another viewer said.