Up in the Air

Plenty Still Light Up on Planes

It may be illegal, but passengers on U.S. planes are still finding ways to smoke. Over the past five years, the Federal Aviation Administration has raised nearly 700 cases against those caught, some ending in civil fines costing the perpetrators thousands of dollars. The ban on lighting a cigarette has been around for 20 years. Yet most cases don’t end up like last week’s when a diplomat from Qatar, who helps manage the Qatar embassy in Washington, was found smoking in a lavatory. When he was asked by a flight attendant, he claimed he burned part of his plastic sandal in an attempt to mask the smell. The information was considered threatening and two fighter jets were scrambled to escort the plane the rest of the way.