Flight diverted due to passenger smoking on plane

Posted Jun 29, 2015 by Caroline Leopold
A United flight that took off in Denver en route to Boston was forced to turn around after a passenger refused to stop smoking in the plane's lavatory.
United Air Lines Boeing 747-422
United Air Lines Boeing 747-422
The end of a long week was made worse for passengers of a United flight that boarded in Denver and was bound for Boston late Friday night. Flight 677 was forced to halt its trip and turn back around when a passenger smoking on an aircraft refused to stop, officials say.
Flight 677 returned to Denver International Airport around midnight due to a disturbance on board, according to Laura Coale with DIA, as reported by a Denver news affiliate.
A man was discovered smoking in a lavatory, which is against federal regulations, according to Rahsaan Johnson, a spokesperson for United Airlines. The man refused to stop smoking, which meant the plane had to return back to Denver, about 30 minutes in to the flight.
Denver Police met the plane in response to the disturbance and the man was taken to the hospital for observation. The police report does not make it clear the reason the man was taken to hospital. According to police, the man was not arrested for violating smoking rules on the flight.
A diversion like the one that happened in Denver can cost as much as $200,000. Despite the ability for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fine law breaking passengers up to $25,000, the agency has been lax with imposing penalties.
The passengers on the halted flight had to spend the night in Denver. The flight to Boston was cancelled due to crew members being unable to continue the flight within their legally allowed duty hours, according to Johnson with United Airlines.
Passengers on that plane were rescheduled for a flight on Saturday.