‘Smoking’ vape pen causes passenger jet to make costly diversion

An e-cigarette caused a plane to divert after it sent smoke spiralling into the passenger cabin. 

The diversion and emergency landing would have proved costly as the airline company had to send a replacement plane to pick up the stranded passengers. 

The Sunwing flight was en route from Cancun in Mexico to Calgary in Canada when it was forced to divert to Memphis in Tennessee due to smoke in the cabin. The airline company said a passenger’s vape pen accidentally discharged, causing the smoke and burning smell. No-one was hurt. 

A replacement plane was dispatched from Toronto to pick up the stranded passengers from Memphis after a delay of more than 8 hours. Authorities are investigating what happened during the flight.

Battery fires on aircraft have become a serious hazard in recent years as passengers bring more personal electronic devices on board such as smartphones, laptops, tablets and e-cigarettes.

In 2019 the US banned lithium batteries from being taken as cargo on passenger aircraft. Passengers are prohibited from including batteries in luggage that is put in the hold. It must be taken into the passenger cabin so the crew can deal with any problems if the batteries overheat or catch fire.

There have been 268 incidents involving lithium batteries reported to the Federal Aviation Administration in the USA between 2006 and January 22, 2020,

AvSax are the world’s best-selling aircraft fire containment bags by far and are now on more than 15,373 aircraft operated by 75 airline companies. They have been used 31 times to deal with emergencies since the start of 2017 and every time they have been deployed the aircraft has been able to complete its journey safely with no need to divert or make an emergency landing.

AvSax won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the UK in 2018.