Southwest Passenger Forces Plane to Land by Smoking in Bathroom

Chris Jasurek
By Chris Jasurek
May 31, 2018US News
Southwest Passenger Forces Plane to Land by Smoking in Bathroom
A Southwest Airlines plane is serviced before departure in a Dec.10, 2017 file photo. (Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images)

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Southwest Airlines passengers were partway through an uneventful flight when one of the passengers decided that the “No Smoking” warnings were only a suggestion.

The passenger tried to sneak a cigarette while hiding in the plane’s restroom but set off the smoke alarm.

Flight 1250, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, had to make an unscheduled landing at San Jose’s Mineta International Airport.

An earlier account of the incident reported that the passenger was smoking marijuana, but according to Business Insider, this was not the case.

The passenger was handed over to officers from the San Jose Police Department upon landing but was not arrested.

Far From the First or Worst

Passengers who don’t want to follow the rules are always a problem—but passengers have tried to do far worse than sneak a smoke.

On two occasions in the past ten months, passengers have decided to get off a plane—while it was in flight.

In August 2017, a man flying American Airlines from Los Angeles to Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport had to be wrestled to the floor and held down by passengers after he tried to open the emergency exit.

The passenger wouldn’t have saved much time had he gotten the door open—the plane was already descending to the airport’s runway.

An American Airlines plane on the tarmac. (Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)
An American Airlines plane on the tarmac. (Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)

In March 2018, a woman on SkyWest Airlines flight 5449 from San Francisco to Boise, Idaho, decided to make an early exit.

Again, other passengers jumped on the woman, holding her down. A video taken onboard shows the lady thrashing around while screaming, “I am God, I am God, I am God.”

The travelers on board might have felt better in knowing that any attempt to open the doors mid-flight would have not succeeded anyway. According to air travel blogger Jason Rabinovitz told Travel + Leisure, “It’s physically impossible.”

“When at cruising altitude, the pressure difference between the outside of the plane and the inside of the plane, which is pressurized, creates a situation where the door cannot open.”


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