Yesterday, Ben and I flew Somon Air from Dushanbe to Dubai. It’s an interesting airline that I’ll have more details about later today. I’ll give you a preview, though: the pilots repeatedly smoked in-flight. Even worse, though, is that FAs denied it was happening.
Four times during the 2.5hour flight, in predictable 30-mintue intervals, the undeniable, distinctive smell of cigarette smoke wafted into the cabin. It was a China Eastern redux.
> Read More: Smoking on China Eastern Airlines
The first time it happened, shortly after takeoff, we just laughed. Oddly, smoking appears to be banned indoors in Tajikistan and we saw no one smoking during our time in Dushanbe even outside. Still, smoking seems prevalent in the region and it did not come as a great surprise.
Service was otherwise excellent on the flight, with the two FAs working in business class extremely attentive and friendly. But one FA went from friendly to hostile when I questioned her about the smoking.
The second time we smelled smoke, I imitated taking a drag on a cigarette and asked her if the pilots were smoking.
A horrified look spread across her face and she sternly stated–
No. No. No. Our pilots don’t smoke at all!
She repeatedly shook her head as she stated this and walked away clearly irritated.
Trust me, the smell was overwhelming. This was not an oven or anything else. It was tobacco.
I just don’t get it. Why would a FA lie? Just like on China Eastern. And why would she go so far as to state that the pilots don’t smoke at all?
As far as I know, it is not illegal for pilots to smoke in the cockpit and what recourse do we have anyway?
It’s just amusing that for the second time — on two very different airlines in two different regions of the world — the FA denial was identical: simultaneously humorous and pathetic.