Why does every modern aircraft still have an ashtray onboard? Precisely for what should have been avoided on an EL AL 777-200ER flight when a passenger tried to sneak a cigarette in the lavatory but instead set it on fire.
EL AL 777-200 Lavatory Catches Fire After Passenger Throws Cigarette In Trash Can
The incident occurred early Friday morning onboard EL AL flight 81 from Tel Aviv (TLV) to Bangkok (BKK). During the flight, the cockpit received a warning sensor of smoke in one of the lavatories onboard the Boeing 777 aircraft. One crew member immediately investigated and found a passenger smoking. A spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post:
“A passenger on a flight to Bangkok was caught smoking in the plane’s bathroom, and there was a fear of a fire breaking out in the cabin. The air crew and the captains took care of the incident immediately and with caution by using the dedicated fire extinguishers.
“The flight continued as scheduled and landed safely at the airport in Bangkok. The passenger was warned and the issue was passed on for further examination in our legal department.”
While a warning may seem like a weak response, I cannot imagine the Israeli passenger will be enjoying his holiday in Thailand, knowing he will return to Israel and potentially be held accountable for what occurred onboard. Even if Thai and Israeli authorities do not go after him, EL AL has a great case for a civil lawsuit against him.
Folks, it’s really simple. You don’t smoke on airplanes. But if you do smoke, you extinguish your smoking material in a designated ashtray. That lavatory fire could have spread to other parts of the aircraft and prompted a diversion. It is foolish and selfish to smoke onboard.
If you’ve ever wondered why airplanes still have ashtrays, it is for incidents like this. By carelessly tossing his cigarette butt into a trash can filled with paper towels, a passenger started a fire on an EL AL flight. Now he faces legal consequences including both a civil and criminal lawsuit.
Bottom line: don’t smoke on a plane.