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Passenger smoked in lav

Passenger smoked in lav

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Old Feb 6, 19, 2:45 am
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Passenger smoked in lav

Yesterday was a first time experience for me. The two guys sitting across from me on a flight to SFO were downing JD & cokes. After ordering their 6th round of JD, the older (60s ?) of the two goes to the lav. When he returns to his seat, he is reeking of cigarette smoke. He chuckled and leaned over to his buddy and told him what he did. Shortly thereafter, a FA comes to him and told the guy that he smoked in the lav. The guy tried to halfheartedly deny it, but the FA said he was cutting them off from anymore alcohol. The FA left and the smoker started laughing and loudly making jokes about what he had done.

When we landed at SFO, the captain comes on the intercom and says that there is a little bit of traffic in the alley and we’ll have to wait a little before pulling into the gate. After a few minutes, we get to the gate, the captain tells everyone to remain seated. Some guy in a suit comes on the plane and goes directly to the smoker and quietly tells him to follow him off the plane. When I walked off the plane, there were 3 SFPD bicycle officers at the gate and the smoker was standing behind some stanchions, kinda penned off. I guess the last joke was on him. I’m not sure that he’ll be flying home on United.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 3:26 am
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Too bad they won't charge him the max. $25000 fine as well.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 4:02 am
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Originally Posted by Aventine View Post
Too bad they won't charge him the max. $25000 fine as well.
How do you know they won't?
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Old Feb 6, 19, 4:06 am
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Originally Posted by Miles Ahead View Post
How do you know they won't?
Assuming that the fine is actually a civil penalty assessed by the FAA, it is not normal for the maximum to be assessed right off the bat, especially if it is a first time offense.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 5:20 am
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
Assuming that the fine is actually a civil penalty assessed by the FAA, it is not normal for the maximum to be assessed right off the bat, especially if it is a first time offense.
So how much {is} first offense?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 6, 19 at 10:04 am Reason: inappropriate phasing
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Old Feb 6, 19, 6:03 am
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The original fail was serving anybody six drinks. Smoking in the lav shows what impaired judgment can do for passenger safety. As this was reported to law enforcement, there will be follow up by UA as well. That will likely lead to some action against the FA.

As to the civil penalty, a lot depends. Local cops will turn over the investigation to FAA. FAA will typically propose a penalty which the passenger may accept, pay, and end the mess. Or, the passenger may contest, have a hearing before an ALJ and either win or lose and then pay whatever it is that the ALJ assesses.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 6:14 am
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1. Sometimes it must really suck to be an FA/adult baby sitter
2. What happened to the smoke detector? broken? disabled?
3. Who knows what happened to the guy? It could have been a slap on the wrist. Half the time when it escalates to "news worthy", it sounds like they just get a stern talking to and then are free to go on their way.
4. I wouldn't be surprised if he was on UA going home. When I read about passengers who get kicked off of flights, most of the time, the "news" story just says that they get put on a later flight (after they sober up)

I do remember one time seeing the guy next to me using a vaporizer at his seat with the FA standing next to him. It was less popular back then and I remember being confused as to what it was.

Last edited by eng3; Feb 6, 19 at 6:38 am
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Old Feb 6, 19, 6:35 am
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I had a friend of a friend who bragged about getting away with smoking the lav. Some planes have a venturi effect sink drain, where when you push the drain stopper open it sort of pops and there is the sound of rushing air. He said he would stick his face in the sink, put a towel over his head holding the drain open and vent it overboard that way. While it sounded like a pretty awful experience, it also sounded plausible.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 6:43 am
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Originally Posted by EricH View Post
So how much {is} first offense?
LOL, in a prior job I handed out civil penalties. I wasn't the recipient.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 6, 19 at 10:05 am Reason: quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Feb 6, 19, 6:47 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The original fail was serving anybody six drinks. Smoking in the lav shows what impaired judgment can do for passenger safety. As this was reported to law enforcement, there will be follow up by UA as well. That will likely lead to some action against the FA.

As to the civil penalty, a lot depends. Local cops will turn over the investigation to FAA. FAA will typically propose a penalty which the passenger may accept, pay, and end the mess. Or, the passenger may contest, have a hearing before an ALJ and either win or lose and then pay whatever it is that the ALJ assesses.
I don't see any indication of how long the flight was or how strong the drinks were or how much he had drunk prior to the flight, so the 6 number alone doesn't tell much. Either way he decided to smoke in the lav, how do we know he wouldn't have if he was sober?

I'm not in favor of a serious drunk being on my flight but I am also not interested in a number being used to determine how many drinks someone gets on a flight. I've certainly drank 6 drinks on a DEN-LHR flight but not on a DEN-MTJ.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 7:33 am
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Originally Posted by cayohueso View Post
I had a friend of a friend who bragged about getting away with smoking the lav. Some planes have a venturi effect sink drain, where when you push the drain stopper open it sort of pops and there is the sound of rushing air. He said he would stick his face in the sink, put a towel over his head holding the drain open and vent it overboard that way. While it sounded like a pretty awful experience, it also sounded plausible.
Is there a German word to describe failing to feel even the slightest pang of jealousy? "Let me tell you about the time I had the most undignified and least enjoyable cigarette of my entire life, could have cost me $20k but I got one over the suckers, boom!"
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Old Feb 6, 19, 7:41 am
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He may has disabled or destroyed the smoke detector in the lavatory. That's a safety hazard. It's also a potential safety hazard for someone to dispose of a lighted/used cigarette in the lavatory trash basket. I'm surprised that the FA didn't take additional steps during the flight, such as wetting or inspecting everything in the lavatory' trash basket and possibly closing the lavatory to passenger use since it might not have had a functioning smoke detector.

Once I was on a flight where someone started to smoke in the lavatory and several FAs came running with fire extinguishers.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
That will likely lead to some action against the FA.
Since when is doing your job grounds for punitive action?

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I'm surprised that the FA didn't take additional steps during the flight
How do you know he/she didn't? Maybe that's why there was a delay in the FA speaking with the passenger.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 7:46 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
He may has disabled or destroyed the smoke detector in the lavatory. That's a safety hazard. It's also a potential safety hazard for someone to dispose of a lighted/used cigarette in the lavatory trash basket. I'm surprised that the FA didn't take additional steps during the flight, such as wetting or inspecting everything in the lavatory' trash basket and possibly closing the lavatory to passenger use since it might not have had a functioning smoke detector.

Once I was on a flight where someone started to smoke in the lavatory and several FAs came running with fire extinguishers.
Disabling a smoke detector is also a Federal offense.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 8:07 am
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Since when is doing your job grounds for punitive action?
It's unclear they were doing their job in compliance with the law, but I'll leave that for United to investigate (which we'll likely never hear the result of).
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