Continental Flight Diverted due to Man Smoking on the Plane

File this under “things passengers should know not to do.”

According to a complaint obtained by, a Continental Airlines flight that was supposed to travel from Houston to Ontario, California, was diverted to San Antonio because one of its passengers kept lighting up cigarettes.

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Passenger Allegedly Kept Lighting Up

Flight attendants told the FBI that the passenger – identified as 37-year-old Manolin Villaverde of Miami – initially came out of one of the jet’s restrooms smoking a cigarette. When a flight attendant took it from him and told him to sit down, he allegedly lit up another. When told there is no smoking on planes, he reportedly indicated he didn’t care.

More back and forth ensued, but that ended abruptly when flight attendants and passengers subdued the man and restrained him in plastic cuffs.

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No Smoking Laws on Airlines

Note to infrequent flyers: Smoking has been outlawed on U.S. commercial flights since the 1990’s. Some airlines were ahead of the trend, notably Northwest, which offered 100 percent smoke-free domestic flights starting in 1988.

Meanwhile, according to one report, accused smoker Villaverde has a significant rap sheet. He now faces federal charges of interfering with a flight crew.


Updated: November 16, 2015