When did British Airways ban smoking?

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Old Feb 9, 16, 7:33 am
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When did British Airways ban smoking?

I was looking at a few pictures on the net from the 'golden age' of First Class flying (courtesy of the Daily Mail no less!). I wonder if they really were so glamorous as the photos suggest. Anyone care to share any memories from those times?

http://dailymail.co.uk/travel/ar...-40-years.html

One thing that seems apparent to me is that passengers were much more sociable in those days, which would be very difficult nowadays with everyone closed off in their little private compartments. The Fifties and Sixties must have been a great time for networking during a flight!

Another interesting thing, for someone like me who has never experienced it, was that smoking was permitted during the flights. I can imagine it was a very difficult time for smokers when they had to stop, but does anybody know when British Airways banned smoking on their flights?


British Airways photograph
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Old Feb 9, 16, 7:35 am
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Smoke Free flights started trials in 1990, but it wasn't until comparatively recently, 1998, that all flights were smoke free aboard BA.

If you like nostalgia threads, this one about TWA is about the best available on here, though sadly not all the photos are still visible:

http://flybook.biz/forum/trip-...-old-days.html

The American Airlines Coach Lounge gives you an idea of what might have been:

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Old Feb 9, 16, 7:41 am
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Yes, the last routes to go, on All Fools Day 1998, was Tokyo. Virgin stopped on the same day. The smoking ban was phased in, starting with Domestic.

I remember a Paris flight when I was a kid and my parents going to some lengths at checkin to ensure we were in the non smoking section. Well we were, but the smokers were in the row behind, no curtain. The tradition was in those days people put their cigarettes in their mouths at take off, and then lit them when the undercarriage retracted. The bing sound, still there, was the sign to light up. Never been so sick on an aircraft before or since!
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Old Feb 9, 16, 7:43 am
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Thank you oscietra, that menu on a domestic flight is truly amazing!

Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
The tradition was in those days people put their cigarettes in their mouths at take off, and then lit them when the undercarriage retracted. The bing sound, still there, was the sign to light up. Never been so sick on an aircraft before or since!
That was the next question I was coming to, when exactly smoking was permitted. Presumably they'd have to put out any cigarettes/cigars for landing too?
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Old Feb 9, 16, 7:45 am
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Transatlantic flights: British Airways started trials of non-smoking transatlantic flights in 1990; Virgin and United Airlines banned smoking completely on such flights early 1995.

I remember the days of being asked if I wanted a smoking or non smoking seat in the economy cabin. Smoking seats were at the back of the cabin. What was a nightmare was not being able to get a non smoking seat and then seeing smokers sitting in non smoking seats but then popping down the back for a fag every hour.

London Underground: restrictions on smoking came in as early as 1971, but it was only after the King's Cross fire in 1987, where 31 died, that a total ban was imposed.

Coaches: National Express made them smoke-free in 1992.

Trains: BR increased accommodation for non-smokers in 1974; banned smoking on commuter trains into London in 1990.

Buses: London buses were made smoke-free in 1991.

Cinemas: Rank Leisure was the first major chain to provide smoke-free cinemas; 1987 Cannon-ABC bans smoking in 1987.

Post Offices: Made smoke-free in 1979.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 7:51 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Yes, the last routes to go, on All Fools Day 1998, was Tokyo. Virgin stopped on the same day. The smoking ban was phased in, starting with Domestic.
I was guessing around the 80's for all but a few long haul BA flights. It's been that long ago I honestly can't remember the last time I smoked on a BA flight even when flying on a Trident BAC1-11 or Viscount.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 7:54 am
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my first TATL was in 1986 and I remember that for international flights back then, like CWS, my parents were very keen to make sure we were far away from the smoking rows.

most strange to think today that walking back to the toilet back then meant walking through smoking rows etc.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 8:00 am
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My earliest TATL flight was also in 1986, which was a Delta flight. I don't recall that people were smoking on board, but maybe at that time it wouldn't have been unusual anyway (hence I don't remember).

Without wanting to start a general argument about smoking, I understand what CWS said about the the Paris flight, because when I'm in a smoke filled room it makes me ill (mainly a headache). So I'm most thankful that it has been banned, although I can appreciate that it can be difficult for smokers.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 8:07 am
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The last commercial airline I smoked on was either PIA or AH (Air Algerie). Never had the pleasure of sparking up on a BA flight and I started flying regularly in 1998. Started smoking in 1997 so never had the inclination on the many domestic BA flights before that.

One of the worst flights I was on for turbulence was on Tarom in the days they still allowed smoking. Stacked over the north of LHR for an hour due to a pretty severe thunderstom and we were getting battered about a bit so I managed to fill the arm rest ashtray in that time (all through nerves).

Even as an avid smoker, I'm glad it's not allowed on flights any more. Gives the lungs a rest for a few hours. Same as Wi-Fi and Mobiles .

Safe & Happy Travels

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Old Feb 9, 16, 8:30 am
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Man, I miss it.

Remember being horrified to learn that it was no smoking on an UA 777 LHR-JFK in September, 1995.

The last soothing Marlboros I enjoyed in-air were on a JL KIX-LHR 747 in August, 1998.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 8:36 am
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Smoking was fairly popular on flights well into the 90's, when it was phased out.

I remember checking in flights back then, and that was always the key question, "smoking or non-smoking?". From my hazy memory, on a typical charter flight (so admittedly not a BA scheduled service), say on a 757, of the 40-odd rows, almost always, smoking would be rows 30 back, sometimes even row 26/27. That was always the frustrating thing - the smoking/non-smoking cutover row would move until late into check-in, so ensure most people got their preference. Checking in people who were way down the line inevitably meant you got people at that first row of non-smoking that really didn't want to be there.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 8:38 am
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I've never been on a BA flight where smoking was allowed, but I do recall flying on Maersk Air from the UK to Denmark in the late 1990s and being surprised that there was still a smoking section - the rear 3 rows or so.

Maersk Air was a bit idiosyncratic, their staff were (as almost all Danes are) fluent in at least English as well as Danish but they announced in both languages "We will now do the safety demonstration in Danish only" and did so. This greatly unsettled the British passengers, although I was fine. My Danish relatives all found this as amusing as I did when I told them

They were taken over by SAS and it was all no smoking, bilingual announcements at all times and so on.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 8:56 am
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My first BA upgrade was from ET to CE FRA-LHR, possibly a Tristar. My 'upgraded' seat was in the middle of row 9, the only smokers' row. It was dire.

LH (= Lufthansa) had a curious solution on single aisle planes: smokers on the right and non-smokers on the left. (Or was it the other way round?)

Flying from Dhahran to Bahrain on GF before the causeway was opened - IIRC scheduled flight time was 40 minutes but wheelsup to touchdown was about 20 minutes - I swear every passenger but one lit up. Oh, and I have never seen such short skirts worn by cabin crew, but that's another matter.

Some things in aviation have improved beyond measure.
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Old Feb 9, 16, 8:59 am
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I remember being on a TATL BA flight; would've been Tampa or Orlando in 1992/93 (I know this as I remember Eldorado being on BBC!!) and my aunt going to smoke in the smoking seats - although we were in non smoking. I last flew on a smoking flight to SYD on Malaysian in 1999. I also recall the smoking had to cease as we got within certain distance of Australia!
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Old Feb 9, 16, 9:11 am
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And if I recall correctly, Lufthansa used to split thier planes down the middle. ABC were nonsmoking, DEF were smoking.

Nice.....
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