Hand Over the Controls, or I Will Expose You to Secondhand Smoke


What should you do if you are caught sneaking a smoke in an airplane lavatory?

a) put out the cigarette and apologize

b) finish the cigarette

c) make a joke about shoe bombs

Obviously, c) is not a very wise choice in the nervous, humorless confines of an airplane cabin, even if you are a Qatari diplomat and therefore pretty sure you won't be prosecuted for your smart mouth. But here's another question: What should you do if you catch a lavatory smoker who, upon being asked what that smell is, jokes that he was trying to light his shoes?

a) admonish him that smoking on an airplane is illegal in the United States

b) report him to the air marshals

c) scramble fighter jets to escort the plane to its destination

d) detain all passengers for questioning upon arrival

e) all of the above

You can probably guess the answer. Refreshingly, one of the detained passengers told A.P. she "was angry about having to stay at the airport to be questioned over something so minor," saying, "He went quietly. There was not a scene. They made this into something that was ridiculous." And a randomly selected traveler at the Denver International Airport, where the fertive furtive Qatari smoker was heading, offered words for all of us to live by: "I don't really ever feel as threatened as they think we should."

[Thanks to Paul in Seattle for the tip.]