A Spirit Airlines passenger has reportedly been banned for life for vaping during a recent flight and setting off the plane’s bathroom smoke alarm.
The incident occurred Tuesday on Flight 985 from Detroit to New Orleans, the Times-Picayune reported Saturday. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s spokesman Captain Jason Rivarde told CNN that the man, a 30-year-old Florida resident, first smoked an e-cigarette at his seat and blew the vapor into a bag, at which time he was informed by a flight attendant that in-flight smoking is not permitted.
According to the Times-Picayune, the flight attendant soon after saw the man make a beeline for the aircraft’s bathroom. While the man was in the bathroom, the plane’s smoke alarm sounded in the cockpit, reportedly forcing the plane to descend 35,000 feet to shut it off. Per the Times-Picayune:
A deputy sheriff who met the plane when it landed at Louis Armstrong International Airport wrote that the man was “highly intoxicated” and smelled of alcohol. The man told the deputy he didn’t know smoking was forbidden on an airplane and denied smoking in the restroom.
The man had reportedly been drinking alcohol that he’d brought on board and hid under his jacket—which is also against the rules. You can, technically, bring alcohol on a plane. But federal regulations prohibit consuming booze in-flight that is not served to you. A flight attendant told Business Insider in 2017 that flyers can be fined up to $11,000 for turning their flight into their own personal bar.
CNN cited the non-arrest documentation report as stating the individual was banned from Spirit Airlines for life, with Rivarde telling the outlet that the carrier is “a private business that can ban customers at their own leisure.” However, Rivarde added that once the plane had landed, the man “was cooperative with our deputies so he didn’t face any criminal charges.”
A spokesperson for Spirit Airlines did not immediately return a request for comment about the incident.
Listen, smoking or blatantly vaping on planes is an incredibly stupid thing to do, especially if you’ve already been warned that doing so is prohibited. While this guy would hardly be the first to attempt a stealth vape on a plane, it sounds like this incident involved more than a sneaky pull off a Juul. But either way, breaking airlines’ rules is as stupid as it is a potential safety issue.
I might also add that if drinking is going to make you do something dumb like repeatedly disobey flight crew, you might consider going easy on the booze, too.