Spirit airlines female passenger lights cigarette on plane and blows it in passengers face booted off by escorting police in latest incidence of air rage and unruly passenger behavior post pandemic air travel.
And it continues. A female Spirt Airlines passenger was booted off a flight after lighting up a cigarette as the plane sat on the tarmac, drawing scorn from fellow passengers early Tuesday.
The unnamed woman pulled out a cigarette after the plane took more than an hour to make its way to the terminal after it arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport from Detroit just on midnight, Tuesday.
Alexa Majdalawi, 31, who was sitting behind her and has asthma, said to Fox News: ‘She literally took out a cigarette and just started smoking.’
Majdalawi said the woman ‘turned around’ and blew it in her face.
She complained to the flight crew, who reportedly told her she could move to the back of the plane. She began filming once the police arrived, who eventually walked the ‘offending’ female passenger off the plane.
This #SpiritAirlines flight from was from Detroit to Fort Lauderdale. The flight landed around midnight on Tuesday and
took an hour to make its way to the gate, prompting the passenger to pull out a cigarette. Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/II3Z3GRJOL
— Lit Convos (@ConvosLit) August 25, 2021
‘f**ked up the flight.’
In the video, the police officer can be seen trying to wake the woman who, at that point, appears to be sleeping. One passenger accused the woman of ‘acting dead.’
The police officer then asks the woman if she has a bag and starts opening the overhead compartments to look for it.
The woman responds to the officers, saying she has had a ‘long day.’
‘Come on, let’s go. Do you have a bag?’ he says, before opening several overhead compartments and not finding the woman’s belongings.
Another passenger, who is also recording the interaction with police, says: ‘She might not even got no bags. Hey, she might not even got no bags, she’s f**king with y’all. Her bags are under the plane, man. Take her off.’
The same passenger earlier had exclaimed the woman had ‘f**ked up the flight.’
The police responds: ‘I know y’all don’t believe this, but we can actually do this without your assistance.’
Identity of woman smoking on plane not revealed
The offending passenger is seen calmly leaving her seat and following officers off the flight. She was not arrested.
In a statement, Broward Sheriff’s Office said: ‘Shortly after 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 24, Broward Sheriff’s Office Airport District deputies responded to a disturbance on a Spirit Airlines flight at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. On scene, deputies met with Spirit Airlines employees and were advised that they wanted a female passenger removed from the plane for smoking. Deputies made contact with the female passenger who complied with the request, and no arrest was made.’
The Miami Herald reached out to Spirit Airlines for comment:
‘When Flight 845 from Detroit was taxiing to the gate in Fort Lauderdale, a passenger inexplicably decided to light a cigarette in violation of federal law,’ the airline said in a released statement. ‘Flight attendants noticed the odor and the other guests were quick to point out who was responsible and hand over what remained of the extinguished cigarette. Our crew summoned law enforcement officers to have them waiting at the gate to remove the passenger.’
According to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the smoker complied with deputies’ request to leave the plane and was not arrested. To date the identity of the smoking female passenger was not made public.
What’s causing rising incidents of air rage?
The Federal Aviation Administration reported that the number of unruly passengers was up to 1,300 in the first three months of 2021 from 100 passengers in 2020, despite fewer travelers compared to pre-pandemic levels.
FAA administrator Steve Dickson said alcohol sales have something to do with the increase in bad behavior.
‘Even though FAA regulations specifically prohibit the consumption of alcohol aboard an aircraft that is not served by the airline, we have received reports that some airport concessionaires have offered alcohol ‘to go,’ and passengers believe they can carry that alcohol onto their flights or they become inebriated during the boarding process,’ Dickson said in a letter to airport managers.
Others also point to the the increasing transformation of air travel from an elite prerogative to a service that divides passengers into haves and have nots as a source of agitation and fueling air rage.
In an August 19 press release, the FAA reported that it has fined more than $1million unruly customers. The FAA received 3,889 reports of unruly behavior and 2,867 reports of passengers not following the federal mask mandate currently in place for all airlines.