Smoker Causes Fire In EL AL Boeing 777 Lavatory

Smoker Causes Fire In EL AL Boeing 777 Lavatory

22

A passenger desperate for a cigarette allegedly caused a fire in the lavatory of an EL AL Boeing 777…

EL AL aircraft lavatory catches fire

This incident involves the Thursday, October 27, 2022, EL AL flight LY81 from Tel Aviv (TLV) to Bangkok (BKK). It was operated by a 21-year-old Boeing 777-200ER with the registration code 4X-ECB. It was scheduled to depart Tel Aviv late at night on Thursday, and land in Bangkok on Friday afternoon.

According to The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli passenger decided to have a cigarette in the lavatory. In his effort to conceal what he was doing, he stupidly threw a cigarette butt in the trash can in the lavatory. However, it wasn’t extinguished correctly, because the cigarette ignited the toilet paper inside, which caused the trash can to catch fire.

The smoke sensors in the cockpit of the Boeing 777 went off, alerting the crew of smoke in the lavatory. At this point flight attendants approached the lavatory and extinguished the fire using fire extinguishers.

According to a statement from EL AL:

“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.”

EL AL Boeing 777 lavatory

EL AL didn’t call the cops on passenger

You’d think that if something like this were to happen around the middle of a flight, there would be a diversion. But nope, the crew assessed the situation and determined there was no damage to the plane. As a result, the plane continued to Bangkok, and landed as scheduled.

Amazingly enough, it sounds like the passenger wasn’t even arrested upon landing — rather he was warned, and the issue is being passed on to EL AL’s legal department, as the company may take legal action against the traveler.

According to a statement from EL AL:

“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.”

EL AL Boeing 777 economy class

Bottom line

An EL AL Boeing 777 lavatory allegedly caught fire after a smoker decided to give in to cravings mid-flight, but then threw the cigarette butt in the trash, causing a small fire. Fortunately there was no damage, and the 777 managed to continue to its destination.

Interestingly the airline didn’t even call police, but rather just forwarded the case to the carrier’s legal department for review.

What do you make of this EL AL lavatory incident?

Conversations (22)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Max Guest

    Clearly a very dangerous situation (Air Canada 797 immediately came to mind). How El Al dealt with it was interesting.
    The aircraft checked out o.k. after the F/A's delt with the lavatory fire. The airline has a plethora of identification information on passengers these days, especially on international flights. The flight crew (with probable company consultation) made a professional decision to continue on to the scheduled destination and deal with the lavatory smoker at...

    Clearly a very dangerous situation (Air Canada 797 immediately came to mind). How El Al dealt with it was interesting.
    The aircraft checked out o.k. after the F/A's delt with the lavatory fire. The airline has a plethora of identification information on passengers these days, especially on international flights. The flight crew (with probable company consultation) made a professional decision to continue on to the scheduled destination and deal with the lavatory smoker at a later date (Israeli citizen? If so, they know where to find him). Any diversion, especially on an international flight, is always a can of worms. Further, a diversion can most likely dominoe into the next day due to crew rotation and passenger connections.
    Kudos are in order for the crew of a Hawaiian Airlines DC-8-62 Combi I was on many years ago. It was a HNL-GUM flight with two flight attendants on board. This was just before smoking was banned from U.S. domestic flights. We took off late afternoon and headed west toward GUM.
    It was not a full flight. Due to the light load the all-coach cabin provided each passenger with their own row. Most folks retracted their arm rests and laid down on their three coach seats. I did the same. At the time my head was toward the aisle.
    As mentioned previously this was in the "smoking days." There was an older woman in the opposite aisle seat one row in front of me. She had severely thinning hair that was dyed an unnatural red color and was "ratted" and arranged in a beehive fashion. Her bouffant was so thin you could see right through it. She opens her purse and takes out a cigarette (I remember it was a Virgina Slims 100).
    She takes out a lighter to light her smoke and the flame flashes upward about a foot and a half. Her hair catches on fire. Poof! It was gone in a second. The oxidation level was high due to all the air available between her thinned out strands, further fueled by all the hair spray necessary for her Bride of Frankenstein doo to defy gravity.
    There was a guy laying down behind her in his three seats that had a blanket over him. Mind you, the cabin was getting dark (this was February) and her hair flair lit up the cabin like Fourth of July. The guy behind her flies up out of his seats and throws his blanket over her head and gets her in a head lock. Needs to say, she was a wreck.
    Getting back to the excellent flight attendants, they both were there instantly, one with a fire extinguisher. The female F/A took the lady to the back galley for a while to check her out. The male flight attendant with the extinguisher (now unnecessary due to the quick thinking of the guy behind her) did not leave that row for about 20 minutes.
    This guy was on his hands and knees, looking under the seat, in between the seat cushions, in the magazine pocket on the seat in front. This inspection went on and on until the other flight attendant eventually brought the lady back to her seat and gave her a double scotch on the rocks (I remember hearing the ice cubes rattling in the cup because the lady was still shaking pretty violently).
    All well and good. I was very impressed with the flight attendants and their attention to a fire on board an aircraft over the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Not so impressed with the lady passenger. A half a second after returning to her seat she lit another cigarette.

  2. glenn t Diamond

    A warning is laughably insufficient 'punishment'.
    They should be on an international no-fly list for 5 years or so.
    This had the potential to become a catastrophic incident, and I am amazed at El Al's relaxed attitude towards in-air safety.

    1. GLCTraveler Member

      5 Year NO Fly minimum....... Big Ass fine and put his photo on a poster located everywhere in the Tel Aviv Airport that says "This person was an IDIOT, Don't be an Idiot too." and "Smoking on an EL Al Plane = No Fly for 5-Years."

      And, Yes if guilty, Lock the Idiot UP!! Hahahaha, sorry Loretta Jackson! :-o

  3. Joe Guest

    They should have invoked the Leslie neilsen, Airplane punishment where the passengers line up to smack him.

  4. Moe Guest

    There is no clarification regarding whether the alleged smoker was Israeli at all and whether this person was Jewish, Arab or Christian, all of which could be citizens.
    Your reference to the Torah (old testament) is absurd and likely exhibits a biased or sick mind.

  5. Loretta Jackson Guest

    Why the drama to get him in jail? Did you ever consider the American view - to lock up as many as possible, unless they're actually commiting crimes - is not helpful here?

    Stop trying to make drama happen, at least when it's literally none of your business.

  6. DCYukon Guest

    Sub-human? Addiction is not a choice, it is a medical condition. Doesn’t excuse his behaviour, but insults will never change an addict’s behaviour or stop the addiction. In most cases, they are counterproductive.

  7. Thai Guest

    They did not want to involve Thai Police for ONE reason. Thai Police is known for Discipline & Brutal in prisons and Israeli Airline did not want to leave one of their own in that situation. It happens all the time. Rapists, child molesters, murderers are protected By the Israeli Police.
    This Lady in a Religious Jewish school in Australia molested Hundreds of children, But escaped to Israel with the help of Israeli Embassy there.

    1. Moe Guest

      Funny you should mention only part of the story. The "lady" in question appealed to Israeli courts but was ultimately extradited from Israel. You are likely quite aware of this. Attitudes like yours are just indicative of bias which causes Jews to lose confidence in getting a fair trial anyplace.

    2. Bob Guest

      In our current state, facts and actual documented proof is optional and say whatever dumb racist theory that suits one's agenda is the law of the land. When they failed high school and the height of their career is cashier it's either live in one's lies or storm the capitol.

  8. M. Casey Guest

    As a CSR with a major carrier, we had a smoker on an inbound flight. There was no local manager/supervisor on duty at this small SoCal station at the time of arrival. I was notified to contact our local HUB management team for further assistance. It was decided that an LEO would not be involved. I was told back in 1989, that we could not detain a passenger forcefully, but we could ask them to...

    As a CSR with a major carrier, we had a smoker on an inbound flight. There was no local manager/supervisor on duty at this small SoCal station at the time of arrival. I was notified to contact our local HUB management team for further assistance. It was decided that an LEO would not be involved. I was told back in 1989, that we could not detain a passenger forcefully, but we could ask them to stay voluntarily and follow up with more details. This story is fully relatable.

  9. Joe Guest

    Simply stupid! Smoking in an EL Al flight. Why not fly with chinese airlines..even the crew smoke in the lavatory. Even Ben had the experience with MU and nothing happened..no consequences for the smoker. Probably bribed the crew with free cigarettes.

  10. tcATL Guest

    Probably more like not wanting to involve the thai police specifically than not wanting to call the police on him

  11. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    Wow. I can't imagine a more "Western" Airline/Citizen having anywhere near the same reaction/consequence. Insane.

  12. Michael H Guest

    Put 300 plus lives at risk because of your drug habit = International “no fly” list for life.

  13. Donna Diamond

    I agree with the decision not to divert since the fire was extinguished but I hope charges will be coming. Letting someone off with a warning after setting the lavatory on fire only encourages future offenses. This could have ended a lot worse.

  14. NedsKid Member

    Well handled.

    If this happened on a US carrier, they would be diverting to the nearest airport/gravel field wanting the military to meet the flight to remove the passenger that is now duck-taped to a seat.

  15. Brandon Biden Guest

    This story is troubling.
    How does El Al, presuming the fire was contained, caused no damage, not have this cat arrested on the spot, Federal level charges? Where is the Deterence, consequences? Can only presume is a security operative} as he should be on No Fly for life, all carriers,

    1. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      They didn't say there was no damage, their legal department will attempt to get balc ANY costs associated with this and sue if needed. Just not involving Thai police eith this matter. That's all. They will probably bam the passenger on their metal too.

  16. Duck Ling Guest

    At the european airline I am crew for we would deal with the issue in the same manner.

    The toilet bins on aircraft have an integral fire extinguisher within and are in a way designed for containing exactly this kind of fire - stupid people shoving their cigs in there. That's why there is a bin flap that MUST flip back into the closed position after you deposit trash into it - so any toilet...

    At the european airline I am crew for we would deal with the issue in the same manner.

    The toilet bins on aircraft have an integral fire extinguisher within and are in a way designed for containing exactly this kind of fire - stupid people shoving their cigs in there. That's why there is a bin flap that MUST flip back into the closed position after you deposit trash into it - so any toilet bin fire can be contained. A toilet trash bin where the flap is damaged and is stuck open and will not retract will usually result in that lavatory being blocked off altogether due to the fire risk.

    This is definitely NOT a situation we would divert over. If the fire became uncontrollable OR the source of the fire could not be located (ie the cigarette butt) then we probably would.

    We would give the passenger a very firm warning and we keep Final Warning letters in the flight deck that are signed by the captain and issued to the passenger. To avoid arrest, the passenger has to read the letter and agree to the terms.

    Obviously we will confiscate any cigarettes and monitor that passenger intently. We would definitely be monitoring their bathroom visits and any further violations and we would definitely have them arrested.

    1. LEM Guest

      I was crew with VARIG when we lost a 707 due to a similar incident back in the 70’s. Most passengers died but the technical crew managed to land the airplane short of the runway at Orly/Paris. I no longer can tell you the finer details but we lost crew members in that incident. Only because an IDIOT decided to smoke in the toilet.

    2. Loretta Jackson Guest

      Americans are into retribution. They want extreme punishment.

      We Europeans take a more adult view.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Michael H Guest

Put 300 plus lives at risk because of your drug habit = International “no fly” list for life.

6
Duck Ling Guest

At the european airline I am crew for we would deal with the issue in the same manner. The toilet bins on aircraft have an integral fire extinguisher within and are in a way designed for containing exactly this kind of fire - stupid people shoving their cigs in there. That's why there is a bin flap that MUST flip back into the closed position after you deposit trash into it - so any toilet bin fire can be contained. A toilet trash bin where the flap is damaged and is stuck open and will not retract will usually result in that lavatory being blocked off altogether due to the fire risk. This is definitely NOT a situation we would divert over. If the fire became uncontrollable OR the source of the fire could not be located (ie the cigarette butt) then we probably would. We would give the passenger a very firm warning and we keep Final Warning letters in the flight deck that are signed by the captain and issued to the passenger. To avoid arrest, the passenger has to read the letter and agree to the terms. Obviously we will confiscate any cigarettes and monitor that passenger intently. We would definitely be monitoring their bathroom visits and any further violations and we would definitely have them arrested.

4
Donna Diamond

I agree with the decision not to divert since the fire was extinguished but I hope charges will be coming. Letting someone off with a warning after setting the lavatory on fire only encourages future offenses. This could have ended a lot worse.

3
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published