By Andrea Romano
April 11, 2019

If there’s anything you shouldn’t do while in flight, it’s light up a cigarette. Even worse, you probably should never do it twice.

According to CNN, an Alaska Airlines flight from San Francisco to Philadelphia was forced to divert due to a “belligerent” passenger lighting up his cigarette while on board. Twice.

Alaska Airlines Flight 1138 left San Francisco just after 10 p.m. local time. According to CNN, one passenger decided to light up in the middle of the flight and was, naturally, asked by flight attendants to put his cigarette out.

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The man responded by proceeding to light the cigarette up again, despite the flight crew’s orders. According to USA Today, the man became angry with the flight attendants and was acting “somewhat belligerent.”

Occasionally, there are passengers who aren’t entirely sure about plane etiquette, but cigarette smoking was banned by the FAA on short-haul domestic flights in 1988, and then eventually all flights in 2000. Either this passenger had not flown in the last two to three decades, or he wasn’t concerned about his fellow passengers and crew. While there are still vents and ashtrays on some aircraft, that’s certainly not an excuse to light up.

The flight was diverted to Chicago, landing at O'Hare International Airport around 4:22 a.m., according to CNN. The man was escorted off the flight by Chicago police, but it is currently unclear whether he will face charges.

Aggressive and unruly passengers usually end up causing a diversion or emergency landing out of caution by the flight crew. Many cases can be traced to passengers being drunk, but sometimes passengers can cause problems for very little reason, like one man who caused a flight delay because he couldn’t order fish as his inflight meal.

The Alaska Airlines flight was able to refuel and continue to Philadelphia after an hour in Chicago.  

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