A man aboard a Spirit Airlines flight to Minneapolis, Minnesota, was caught lighting and smoking a cigarette mid-air last week, despite the practice being prohibited for almost 20 years.
The incident was caught on camera on May 21 by a fellow passenger sitting in the same row as the man. The co-passenger captured the moment when the individual lit the cigarette and began to smoke before shutting his eyes and leaning back into his seat.
The offending man, who is dressed in pale cargo shorts and a dark, partially unbuttoned short-sleeved shirt, appears visibly intoxicated as he takes a puff, before placing his lighter on the seat beside him.
The footage shows an alarmed passenger sitting in the aisle across from the man, who alerts a cabin crew member to the incident.
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The flight attendant immediately rushes over to the rule-breaking passenger, and pats him on the arm to wake him up to tell him what he is doing is prohibited, before asking to see his boarding pass.
“You cannot smoke in an airplane,” the flight attendant tells him. “It’s against the law, you know that right? Where is your boarding pass?”
Seemingly startled, the man can be heard replying, “Oh my God.” He places his hands on his head before rummaging around to find his boarding pass to give to the crew member.
The passenger who recorded the footage said she realized the man was intoxicated from the moment she boarded the plane at around 8:30 a.m. local time, reported AOL.
“This man was in my seat, and I thought he might be inebriated,” the unnamed passenger explained.
“Once everyone boarded the plane I got in my assigned seat and realized his seat was next to mine. I breathed in deeply, but told myself that I wouldn’t be that person to treat him differently.”
To the passenger’s relief, when the plane doors closed, the man moved over to the aisle seat when he realized there was nobody sitting there, she continued.
But throughout the flight, the man’s behavior continued to alarm her, she said.
“Throughout the flight, I could hear him making loud outbursts. Roughly 40 minutes before we landed, he laid across the two seats with his butt towards me.
“He continued his loud outbursts and began aggressively flipping the tray open and closed, then he sat up,” the passenger continued.
She only decided to start recording his behavior when the man began to light his cigarette, she said, adding that the flight attendant took his boarding pass from him.
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“He didn’t have any other issues, and when we landed, the airport police took him off the flight first,” the woman added.
Since 2000, smoking has been banned on scheduled flights in the United States, regardless of whether it is an interstate, intrastate, or foreign passenger air transport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The law applies to crew members as well as all passengers and covers all areas of an aircraft.
Those caught breaking the rule can be fined up to $25,000 by the FAA.
Further action is usually only taken if a passenger refuses to put out a cigarette after being informed about the ban, reported Tech Times.
It is unclear whether any charges were filed against the offending passenger.