The battle for smoke free planes


Amid the security checks, cramped seating and baggage fees, it’s easy to pine for the glory days of air travel. When food was abundant (and included in the price of your ticket), you had room to cross your legs and fashionable air hostesses handed out cocktails and chewing gum. And if you wanted to light up, then — like most anywhere else — you simply lit up. A smoking section on an airplane … is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool.

The smoke-filled cabin seems hard to imagine today, a quaint relic of a bygone era when travel also meant white gloves and meaningful customer service. But the right…was far from a given. Just 25 years ago, thanks to the efforts of an intrepid few, from key lawmakers to, yes, valiantly disagreeable flight attendants, a public health hazard went from established custom to punishable offense.

The fight to keep the “No Smoking” sign on in airplanes crossing the friendly skies was not an easy one.

I remember when it was legal to smoke on planes. Seems insane now.