Anyone who’s flown in an airplane has heard the repeated warnings from flight attendants not to smoke in the airplane bathroom and seen signage posted all over. For anyone who’s thought that it can’t be a big deal to break the law, a flight attendant shared exactly what the consequences are when a customer vapes or smokes in an airplane bathroom.
In a viral TikTok with more than 3.5 million views, Natalie Magee (@yogimagee) says that anyone who smokes or vapes in the airplane bathroom is a “douche canoe” because they’re risking delaying other people’s flights and having people miss their connections.
She shares that she was recently working a flight, and in the middle of the trip, she and the other flight attendant got an emergency call from the flight deck. When they get on the call, it’s the captain sternly asking who was vaping in the bathroom.
Neither Magee, who was working first class, nor the other flight attendant heard the fire alarm go off or saw the culprit exit the bathroom.
They remind passengers over the intercom system that it’s against the law to smoke or vape in the bathroom before proceeding to inspect the bathroom in question.
It “definitely” smelled like someone had vaped in it, she says.
Again, on the intercom, they ask that the culprit come clean but no one does.
“Obviously no one wants to admit it,” Magee says.
@yogimagee Please don’t be this person #flightattendant #fligjtattendantlifestyle #flightattendantlife #flightattendantstories #flightattendanttiktok #flightattendants #yogimagee #yogimageeadventures ♬ original sound – Natalie Magee
Turns out that owning up to the action can have a significant impact on whether the plane gets grounded with a two-hour delay or not.
Magee explains that when someone smokes or vapes in the bathroom and gets caught after not identifying themselves, the airplane will be grounded for a minimum of two hours because the entire system and engines need to be overhauled to understand why the alarm went off.
Luckily, Magee’s flight was stopping in Denver, where the maintenance crew was equipped to look at the detectors. Had they landed in another city, the plane would have been grounded and out of service for two hours.
Talking to her captain afterward, Magee learned that there was an instance in which was caught coming out of the bathroom after vaping, and when asked about it, they owned up to it. Because the person came clean, it wasn’t as big of a deal with maintenance. The plane did not have to get grounded, and their main consequence was getting berated once they landed.
“So, moral of the story is, those smoke detectors do work. Do not smoke or vape in the bathroom,” Magee says.
“And if you get caught you absolutely need to come clean because maybe you’ll get a fine, maybe you will get berated, depending on how cooperative you are, but you are gonna mess up a lot of people’s days because you were selfish,” Magee concludes.
The fine for smoking on a plane is a whopping $4,000.
While smoking on planes was commonplace for many years, bans began in the United States in 1990 after pressure from the flight attendants’ union due to the effects of secondhand smoke. Now smoking is prohibited on nearly every flight worldwide.
Commenters gave their own takes on the situation, ranging from confusion to how they hacked it to smoke on a flight.
“I would blow the smoke in the toilet while I flush it or just in my seat. I QUIT tho! Thank god I never got caught,” a person said.
“Also how does the plane being out of service depend on someone coming clean or not,” another asked.
“I just open the windows,” a commenter joked.
The Daily Dot reached out to Magee for comment via email.