One man’s flight on Spirit Airlines went slightly askew last week after he broke several FAA regulations concerning smoking and consuming BYO alcohol onboard a flight. The man, a 30 year old St Petersburg, Florida, resident has since been banned for life from Spirit Airlines. Depending on your opinion of Spirit Airlines, this may or may not an entirely bad outcome.
The gentleman, who has not been named, was flying from Detroit to New Orleans onboard NK985 on Tuesday 4th June. Clearly not a frequent flyer, he lit up an e-cigarette but ever so politely blew the vapour into a bag. A Flight Attendant told him this was not allowed. According to CNN, he was “admonished.”
Like another Spirit Airlines smoking incident reported last month, perhaps this gentleman just didn’t see the no smoking signs. Perhaps flying onboard an airline recently ranked the USA’s second worst airline just really makes you want to light up a ciggy.
America’s new least favourite passenger
But back to the present matter on NK985 and, clearly not admonished enough, the man was later seen by the same Flight Attendant heading for the toilet and a vaping session. Unfortunately he promptly set off the smoke alarms.
This forced the aircraft to descend some 35,000 feet to shut the alarm down.
An unimpressed fellow passenger soon let slip that the man was eschewing the paid bar service in favour of his own BYO supplies. Given that Spirit Airlines charges USD$8.00 for a beer and USD$9.00 for a mini bar size bottle of bottom shelf spirits, the gentleman perhaps thought he’d get better value bring his own.
When the plane landed, America’s current least favourite passenger was met by Jefferson Parish sheriffs. He told the sheriffs he did not know smoking was not allowed onboard. Jefferson Parish sheriffs found the man conciliatory and polite and did not arrest him. Always good advice to be polite.
Spirit was not so forgiving, banning him for life. This may seem tough but as Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s spokesperson, Capt. Jason Rivarde told CNN,
“[Spirit is] a private business that can ban customers at their own leisure.”
Luckily for our misguided vaping passenger, there are plenty of alternative airlines to fly on next time.
But it’s not really funny
Okay, so clearly this writer finds the whole incident vaguely amusing. But he wasn’t onboard and there is nothing funny about an inconsiderate passenger on your flight, disrupting the peace and breaking the well established and well known rules.
FAA regulations expressly forbid smoking (including e-cigarettes) and consumption of your own alcohol onboard aircraft in the USA. This ban has been in place in the USA for several decades and it’s now standard practice around the world. It’s a rare flight when the regulations have not been announced by a Flight Attendant once the doors are closed and the aircraft is pushing back.
China, however, has been a laggard. It has only just recently banned smoking on commercial flights. But nearly one third of the Chinese population smokes, so the social pressure to ban smoking there was less intense than it was in the west.
Most frequent flyers have a horror story concerning a passenger on a flight who had no idea how to behave. The issue can be exacerbated on low cost carriers like Spirit Airlines who often fly infrequent flyers who aren’t travelling on holidays and who may not be 100% clued-up to the social etiquette of flying. A 2018 Which? survey found one in 10 passengers had experienced bad behaviour onboard a flight.
Simple Flying has contacted Spirit Airlines for comment on this incident but the airline had not replied by the publishing deadline.
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