Japanese national caught smoking in Vietnam plane restroom in flight

A Japanese national was fined US$185 after being caught hiding in the restroom of a Vietnam Airlines plane to smoke on Thursday

In this file photo, a non-smoking sign is shown on a screen on a plane.

The Vietnamese airline authorities have given a fine of US$185 to a Japanese national who was caught smoking in the rest room of a Vietnamese plane while flying from Japan to Vietnam on Thursday.

>> Australian passenger fined $187 for smoking on Vietnam Airlines plane

The foreign man, identified as Ichikawa, committed the act on board a plane of Vietnamese national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) during Flight VN341 from Japan’s Nagoya to Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City that day.

While the plane was in flight, Ichikawa hid in the plane’s restroom to smoke, and fumes from his cigarette activated the fire alarm on the aircraft, the VNA said.

After detecting the man smoking in the rest room, the crew recorded his violation of flight safety regulations and seized from him a pack of Kents cigarette.

When the plane landed at the airport at 2 pm on the same day, the VNA representative at the airport reported the violation and handed the violator over to the Southern Airports Authority (SAA) for handling.

The SAA later issued a fine of VND4 million ($185) to Ichikawa and the man paid the fine at once. 

Although the ban on in-flight smoking is applied to all flights of all airlines operating in Vietnam, dozens of such violations still happen every year, the SAA said.

The most recent case happened in February when an Australian passenger was given the same fine for smoking in the bathroom of a VNA plane.

Ta Ngoc Tuan, a 49-year-old Vietnamese-Australian man, was caught smoking on Flight 772 from Australia’s Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City on February 11.

Flight attendants caught Tuan smoking in the restroom of the plane after the cockpit detected signals from a fire alarm device.

Smoking on a flight poses the threat of fire and explosion, causes air pollution on flights, and disturbs passengers, the SAA said, adding that the handling of in-flight smoking cases can cause delays, affect flight schedules and passengers’ travel and business plans.

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