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Woman Lights Up & Launches Into Political Rant on American Flight

Social media chronicles the misadventures of a chain-smoking professor with a foolproof smoking scheme and a much weaker backup plan.

Passengers aren’t likely to circumvent smoking bans on commercial flights. Smoke alarms in the lavatories will quickly detect cigarette smoke in the extremely tight quarters and tampering with that aircraft safety device can earn a bigger legal penalty than the act of smoking itself. One determined passenger on an American Airlines flight from Augusto César Sandino International Airport (MGA) to Miami International Airport (MIA) decided to forgo the subterfuge and simply light up at her seat.

The woman’s plan almost immediately went awry, as her seatmates in economy began yelling for a flight attendant almost as soon as she tried to enjoy the rich, full flavor of her favorite tobacco blend. Fortunately, those same passengers also took the time to capture cellphone video of the brazen disobedience so the rest of us could enjoy the public shaming that followed on YouTube.

Once the jig was up, the smoking passenger quickly shifted gears and formulated a hasty Plan B. After tucking the cigarette butt into the seat pocket in front of her, moments after being confronted by flight attendants, the woman can be heard blaming the man seated next to her for the telltale cloud of smoke.

Once again, fellow passengers foiled her plan and objected to her attempt to assign blame to an innocent bystander. A man claiming to be the falsely accused seatmate took his revenge by posting what he claims is the woman’s mug shot on Reddit.

If the woman’s attempt to smoke unnoticed on a crowded plane depended on keeping a low profile, then launching into a loud rant about her “friend Hugo Chavez” didn’t help her cause. The unwelcome political punditry was also caught on video, and the apparently unstable woman can be heard proclaiming that “Venezuela has been declared a national security threat.”

Her political treatise was quickly deconstructed after a passenger on the plane shouted back: “No, you’re the national security threat!”

When the disruptive passenger — identified by the Miami New Times Dr. Karen Halnon, 52, a professor of Sociology at Penn State — was warned that police were on their way to arrest her, she met the challenge with unassailable logic. “Oh, I already know that,” she retorted. “So I’m going to say my piece before I’m arrested.”

[Photo & Videos: YouTube]

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11 Comments
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Pryde987 March 18, 2015

Look at all the casual, boring, dated misogyny in this thread. I mean, with a forum full of entitled white male baby boomers whose generation dedicated itself to economically strip mining the planet while complaining about everybody else being a "taker," I should expect such a viewpoint on this topic.

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r0bran March 17, 2015

Give the woman a break. She was having hard day, needed to pound down a quick heater.

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tonykline1947 March 17, 2015

her PhD thesis title: Women's agency in Hysteria and its Treatment. priceless

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Lenflyer64 March 17, 2015

Maybe because of the Chavez reference (since many can't tell the difference?) or because she has a PhD? I'm pretty sure some conservatives have a degrees too. :)

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celsius1939 March 17, 2015

For those who wonder at the comment about having half a brain to get a PhD, remember she got hers in a non discipline -- Sociology.