The Real Reason Airplanes Still Have Smoking Trays

Sep 19, 2017, 11:26 AM

It's a quintessential inflight riddle — a perennial that comes on mid-red-eye and is forgotten by the time the wheels touch down. If smoking is banned on planes, what's with all the ashtrays?

Think about it: there are illuminated signs above the seats; there is the pre-take off safety demonstration that reminds you that tampering with the smoke detectors is a criminal offense; there is the sign on the bathroom door; then, right below that sign, there’s the ashtray.