Smoking On Airplanes: Unreal Facts And Stories About When Smoking On Planes Was Outlawed

By | November 15, 2019

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Air travel has changed a lot from the Don Draper days. Source: (vox)

Air travel has seen many changes since the days of Mad Men, getting on a plane meant getting suited and booted for the occasion. Today, we're lucky if people keep their shoes on. Flight attendants of yesteryear more closely resembled cocktail waitresses, and coach still meant first-class service and a meal.

However, undoubtedly the biggest change at 35,000 feet since that groovy era is the air quality in the cabin. When people still thought a cigarette was no more harmful than a glass of wine with dinner, flights were filled with chain-smoking passengers. It's impossible to imagine people smoking on airplanes today, however, thanks to the first President Bush, who outlawed stogies in the friendly skies on November 21, 1989. Here are some unbelievable facts and stories from a bygone era.

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Believe it or not, cigarettes helped keep the fuselage safe. Source: (loveexploring)

Smoking Made Flying Safer

The idea that flaming tar could make flying safer is laughable but absolutely true. It has to do with the tiny cracks in an airplane's fuselage that tend to form when the craft is hurtling through the air at 500 miles per hour thousands of feet above the ground. These cracks and holes need to be immediately detected and fixed, and those death sticks made finding them much easier. All engineers had to do was look for nicotine stains where the smoke was escaping. In 1988, when two congressmen pushed forward legislation to improve the depth of equipment checks, one of them remarked "The easiest and most common way to detect leaks in the fuselage today is to look for tobacco smoke stains on the outside metal. Not very reassuring, is it?"