American Airlines Flight Attendant Shuts Down Passenger Lighting Cigarette At Their Seat

An Arizona-based dental assistant shared video from an American Airlines flight, where a passenger in the first class bulkhead lit up a cigarette. Sara Radosevich had kudos for the flight attendant hero who “snatched it out of his hands.”

United Airlines was first to create a nonsmoking section on a plane back in 1971. It wasn’t until 1994 that a U.S. airline banned smoking on all flights worldwide – that was Delta. Air Canada, for its part, went completely non-smoking in 1990. U.S. airlines were still allowed to offer on board smoking up until 2000.

Nonetheless, planes still have ashtrays, generally in or near the lavatory, because customers may smoke even though it’s illegal to do so – and they need a place to put out their cigarettes. Without ashtrays they’d be most likely to put out their cigarettes in the lavatory trash.. and light the paper tossed away inside on fire.

I reached out to the passenger sharing this video for more details on the flight, and for what they saw happen to the passenger after the flight attendant snatched away the cigarette. I’ve also reached out to American Airlines for comment on their flight attendant’s quick action, and will update if they provide comment.

Last year a passenger who lit her cigarette inflight says police beat her after flight attendants spiked her drink. And in 2020 a passenger lit up a cigarette after refusing to wear a mask on board. Before the pandemic another passenger downed 4 bottles of beer, vaped an e-cigarette, and punched a flight attendant all before his honeymoon. Another lit a cigarette, drank his own booze, and bit a flight attendant’s ear. While a man who burned himself with his own e-cigarette on board had the temerity to sue the airline.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. How can we say anything about smokers on planes when the gov’t is willing to exchange a woman basketball player for a Russian arms dealer? Priorities in America are completely screwed up.

  2. Wrong blog, Ray. The smoker was not a Russian arms dealer, and clearly not a woman basketball player.

  3. How can we say anything about smokers on planes when a now-former president shared classified intelligence reports with Putin?

    Where is Millard Fillmore when you need him?

    Kudos to the flight attendant.

  4. When we free a black woman from a horrible country , the true racist rear their ugly head.

    #sickofit #sureJan #yourfeelingshavenothingtodowithwhelan

  5. Would much rather have cigarette smokers lighting up, than deal with
    1: Republicans
    2. Christian Fantatics

  6. This video demonstrates the inflight crappiness of a passenger smoking in the first cabin that American Airlines flight attendants and crew members deal with daily. As a result, flight attendants help make your flight safer and smoke-free.

  7. @Tim j

    You’re the perfect example of liberal brain rot.

    @Lee

    Lol still spreading your debunked conspiracy theories.

    Lefties are a cancer to civilization

  8. Mother Madge, the odds are that the cigarette smoker was also in the two groups you named. There’s a certain militancy among some. To be fair, not all, but some.

  9. I wonder what the TSA has to say about this – how did the passenger get a lighter thru Security?

  10. I do think the main thing this video demonstrates is what airline attendants have to deal with (thanks for pointing that out Ken). I try to keep that in mind when I deal with one who is having a bad day and gets chippy with me over an innocent mistake or something I was ignorant about.

    Related to this thread, as a Republican and a Christian I try not to define “the left” by the handful of loud-mouths that treat every conversation as a platform to air political grievances. I understand why the first comment on this thread triggered harsh responses but like to think the problem is more about individuals who cross lines than “all of those ____” (Fill in the blank depending on who said what). Appreciate this community letting me be a part of this wonderful travel hobby I never knew existed 10 years ago and all the people whose helpful comments have opened up opportunities to me and my family.

  11. @Gene

    Only to brain dead lefties.
    Still believe the Russia “collusion” lie?

    Anymore American hating low tier athletes we can trade if international terrorists?

    @Lee

    Doubt it, most poor addicted drug addicts are democrats. Like most rapists and pedos.

  12. When I started my part-time career as an AA Fleet Service Clerk in 1988 smoking was still permitted. To say dealing with ash-trays and the lingering odor was disgusting is an understatement. As those of us who flew back in the day know, there really was no such thing as a “no smoking” section.

  13. My favorite smoking episode on a plane is the Hilton kid who SCREAMED at the flight attendants about how they were effing peasants when called out for his smoking. Afterwards, he faced zero repercussions.

  14. How can anyone be surprised about smokers on airplanes when slack-jawed mouth-breather useful idiots like Ray and Chad are able to buy tickets?

  15. As usual, the Democrat lefties call other people names and personally insult those they disagree with.

  16. Chad, you assume I’m a leftie simply because you disagree with me . . . because I’m not willing to embrace an entrenched, extreme position. For the record, I’m not a leftie. But, I am a truthie (on the right). The Good Book tells us that truth is the foundation of all virtues. Barry Goldwater, the father of Republican conservatism, warned us about what is now happening to the Republican Party. And, I’ve been a Barry Goldwater republican since I was a kid. And, as I’ve stated in other comments, I belong to one of the most conservative Christian organizations in existence.

    While I have had intimate conversations on issues with more than one Republican candidate for President, you’re right, I’m a mindless sucker for conspiracy theories. Like the one about the Venezuelans using Italian spy satellites to control Chinese thermostats to change votes in ballot machines. And, in so believing, every member of that White House staff would say that I was nuts.

  17. I checked the Twitter link — and other than seeing the passenger “click” and light up – there’s no part of the video showing any flight attendant “snatching” the cigarette out of his hands.

    It’d be interesting to see the actual interaction on video; and (once Gary gets a reply, or the Tweet is updated) – what actually happened to the idiot for attempting to light and up and smoke.

  18. Imagine admitting that your politics are right wing. This was halfway socially acceptable in the early 1990s. Not anymore. Right wing people have no place in polite modern society.

  19. @Weight loss

    Actually to the contrary.

    Right wingers are the sane people in society. They also have half the mental Illnesses of lefties.

  20. @ Weight loss — When the full slate of federal Republican leaders are liars, why are you surprised? There is nothing wrong with being conservative, but there are major things wrong with today’s Republican party.

  21. Mighty racist and sexist of ptahcha to claim to know what nationality or sex the smoker self identifies with.

  22. Politics = Opinion

    No right or wrong answers just people taking their hate out on other people instead of dealing with their shit.

  23. @Gene
    @Lee

    Seek mental help, you people are obsessed with politics. It’s probably something you use to compensate for something that’s missing in your lives. Getting angry and trolling comments sections online all day shouldn’t be a hobby.

  24. Great commentary today from all sides! I particularly like the mud slinging regarding a dumb-ass-pot-head American “woman'(?) basketball player being exchanged for a Russian arms dealer responsible for countless deaths. Very spirited.

  25. @ Lee

    “I am a truthie (on the right). The Good Book tells us that truth is the foundation of all virtues. …I belong to one of the most conservative Christian organizations in existence.”

    It is always greatly amusing when those who claim “truth” through their religion align with the right side of politics – the sociopathic politics of intolerance and selfishness and racism and anti-science justified by a belief in the self / mass delusion of fanciful deities. Virtues? Don’t make me laugh, fella.

    The great irony is that there’s no space for love and compassion in such politics, is there, Lee?! It’s about preserving power and controlling the mob.

    What a simpering hypocrisy. At core, you are just the same ilk as the other dumb folk herein (Chad, etc). Just add the guns and the picture is complete.

    Thank goodness that in more civilised societies than the USA those adhering to religious delusions are ever decreasing in their numbers.

  26. @ Weight loss

    “Right wing people have no place in polite modern society.”

    Rephrased…right wing people have no place in a civilised modern society…you can hide the idiopathy in a show of manners, but the core selfish savage within will always eventually show him/herself…

  27. @ Mother Madge

    “Would much rather have cigarette smokers lighting up, than deal with
    1: Republicans
    2. Christian Fantatics”

    But (1) often equals (2)…!!!

    The common denominator being an attachment to belief systems rather than to science and reason.

  28. Would much rather have cigarette smokers lighting up, than deal with
    1: Democrats
    2. Self-righteous Hypocrites

    But (1) often equals (2)…!!!

    The common denominator being an attachment to the belief that they are some kind of superior god who looks down upon the sea of humanity.

    This ought to balance the view from the left and the right wing.

    Just making sure the view from the wing is inclusive of both the left wing and right wing perspective

  29. @ AlohaDaveKennedy

    “This ought to balance the view from the left and the right wing.”

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t, since inclusivity is anathema to the right wing…;)

  30. @Gary. This is a forum about travel- not about politics. It’s up to you to monitor the messages and delate any of those that espouse political beliefs, etc. You seem unwilling to do this and allow numerous travel posts to devolve into political rants. Please stop it.

  31. Gary, I came here to read actual comments, as I found this video shocking, and I was hoping to hear some reaction, maybe follow up. While I appreciate you allowing people the space to comment, this really is out of hand. People’s politics and personal affronts over things unrelated spiral into such ugly insults that many of us cannot find the information about the travel blog comments we love to read. Consider filters or restricting or something, maybe, that still allows commenting? I stopped after maybe 6 comments. I just wanted to know about the smoking incident…

  32. @ Suz

    “many of us cannot find the information about the travel blog comments we love to read”

    Yes you are absolutely right – yet, arguably, you’re wasting time reading this travel blog.

    @ Gary demonstrably publishes topics, headlines, and content designed to encourage such dissenting debate, with little recourse to fact or logical integrity. It appears to have become his “thing” and point of differentiation.

    Consider filters or restricting or something, maybe, that still allows commenting? I stopped after maybe 6 comments. I just wanted to know about the smoking incident…

  33. I mean, you gotta hand it to the guy. The IDGAF attitude and brazeness of lighting up a cig right in first row of first class is what we all need sometimes. Also, how is a dental assistant flying first class?

  34. @ Don

    “…how is a dental assistant flying first class?….”

    LOL…maybe…frequent fcuking flyer points !!!

  35. @ Gary. You continue to ignore Muse Air, the nation’s FIRST completely non-smoking airline 1981. MC didn’t allow smoking until WN purchased it and changed the name to TranStar. The MD-80’s didn’t smell like a dirty ashtray every morning like the owners did until then.

  36. Gary, your allowing these super political posts, often grounded in racism, sexism, and unbridled nationalism, is unacceptable.

  37. @ DLF

    “Gary, your allowing these super political posts, often grounded in racism, sexism, and unbridled nationalism, is unacceptable”

    Maybe – but, in the meantime, one might question whether such commentary offers a true representation of modern day USA ?!

  38. New VFTW drinking game. Take a shot when Chad says something stupid.

    Warning, you’ll quickly run out of booz.

  39. @ john

    “New VFTW drinking game. Take a shot when Chad says something stupid.Warning, you’ll quickly run out of booz”

    Laugh out loud hilarious. Bring it on – my shipment of QF wine just arrived yesterday!

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