You can’t carry guns, knives or baseball bats onto an airplane, but the Federal Aviation Administration wants passengers to be required to carry their e-cigarettes on board with them.
That recommendation to airlines comes after two incidents in which e-cigarettes in checked bags caused fires, the FAA says in a safety alert sent to air carriers. The FAA said an aircraft was evacuated at Boston’s Logan Airport last August after a bag in a plane’s cargo hold caught fire. More recently, a bag that had missed its flight at Los Angeles International Airport caught fire in a luggage area three weeks ago. The FAA said the two incidents — and others not involving aircraft — indicate that when an e-cigarette is left on or activated by accident that the heating element can cause fires.
After the Logan incident, U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) asked the U.S. Department of Transportation whether e-cigarettes should be allowed on airplanes at all. He and other senators also had urged the USDOT to ban e-cigarette use on board airliners.
“I’m pleased that our federal aviation experts and regulators took this important first step to protect the public,” Markey said Monday. “We’ve seen the danger at Boston’s Logan Airport that e-cigarettes pose in the cargo hold of commercial flights. We need to ensure that passengers are not at risk from e-cigarettes either in the cabin or cargo hold of airplanes. I will be following-up with the major domestic airlines on their plans to adopt and operationalize the FAA’s recommendation.”
The FAA wants airlines to publicize the potential problem on Web sites and at airport check-in counters. Note: While you can bring your e-cigarettes on board with you, in-flight vaping is not allowed.
E-cigarettes, promoted as a tar-free way feed a user’s nicotine habit, have grown into a $1.4 billion business.