My biggest travel regret remains never flying on Concorde while it was still in commercial service. That will always be a regret. But I don’t regret avoiding Harvey Weinstein on the Concorde, who once was arrested for refusing to extinguish his cigar.
Harvey Weinstein Smoking Incident On Concorde
It was December 16, 1999. British Airways had recently banned smoking onboard its Concorde supersonic service between New York and London and one customer, filmmaker Harvey Weinstein, was not happy.
Weinstein was used to enjoying a cigar after dinner and when he was informed by a flight attendant that he could no longer light up onboard, he simply ignored her and lit up anyway.
Passengers around him complained, forcing the captain to pay him a visit. He still refused to put out his cigar. Apparently, this was not his first offense. A British Airways spokesperson confirmed the cigar incident and stated that “he does it all the time”.
Police met him on the ground and detained him for questioning. He was released but ordered to show up for a hearing 10 days later in a magistrates’ court in Uxbridge.
He skipped it.
Days later, he sent a note profusely apologizing for his conduct onboard, claiming he had smoked a cigarette in the lavatory.
“I am an extremely nervous traveler. I experienced some air turbulence. I went to the toilet cubicle where I foolishly lit a cigarette to calm my nerves. There was no violence or drunkenness involved. I am extremely apologetic.”
He was fined £200 ($250) for the incident and not banned from flying British Airways.
Whether a cigarette or cigar is not the point. I bring up this story because it is travel-related and because it helps to paint a picture of Weinstein’s character. Is it any wonder that he ran into the legal trouble he did with a clear pattern of flouting authority, not taking no for an answer, and conduct suggesting that he was above the law?
image: Dmitry Avdeev