It’s no secret that flying makes many travelers nervous. On Friday, however, one airline passenger appeared to take matters into his own hands, allegedly pulling out a joint and lighting up on board.
Video captured on a cell phone quickly circulated of a male passenger traveling on an American Airlines flight from Phoenix to Minneapolis. In the video, the man is seen visibly smoking some sort of substance and becoming belligerent when fellow passengers attempted to make him stop. The flight was reportedly grounded as a result.
American Airlines did not confirm details but issued a statement to news outlets that Flight 2408 was “diverted due to a disruptive passenger.”
"Law enforcement met the flight, and the aircraft re-departed,” the airline said in a statement. “Thank you to our crew members for taking care of our customers during this situation.”
However, the video raises a question for those who have ever wondered: Just how easy is it to sneak marijuana on a plane?
Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation Oliver McGee joined Fox & Friends on Monday to discuss the matter. As it turns out, one might be able to get the pot past security, but that is still a big “maybe.”
“TSA sometimes can’t catch all contraband coming on board,” McGee admitted. “I really think this was a slip in the security system.”
That said, McGee had stern warnings for anyone who might decide to spark up while in flight, citing the Federal Aviation Administration’s 252 rule, which prohibits smoking on an aircraft.
“You can’t smoke cigarettes, cigars, you can’t vape, and you definitely can’t roll up a joint and smoke it,” he said. “It’s all about the smoke and the smoke detectors.”
McGee also warned of the elaborate smoke detector regulations that airlines adopted following a tragic June 1983 in-flight fire that killed 23 passengers.
“That’s when we really started to put smoke detectors in aircraft. We also put lighting on the floor in the aircraft, we also put fire fighting equipment for crews,” he said. “They also put in new fire-retardant materials in aircraft, so we don’t have an aircraft blowing up in big flames.”
McGee said the passengers who consider testing the rules should be wary.
“If you go into a lavatory and you start trying to smoke, and you set off a fire alarm or a smoke detector in there, the pilots are going to put the plane down fast,” he said. “More importantly, you’re going to meet law enforcement when you land.”
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