Alaska Airlines Flight Diverts to Chicago After Passenger Lights Cigarette

Flight Delays Feared As Sequester Forces Air Traffic Controller Furloughs

An Alaska Airlines pilot was forced to divert his plane after a "belligerent" passenger tried lighting a cigarette inside the cabin - twice.

The red-eye flight from San Francisco to Philadelphia was forced to land in Chicago after one of the passengers on board refused to comply with the flight crew's instructions to not smoke inside the airplane while it was in the air. The passenger became angry with the flight crew and after he tried lighting another cigarette, the pilot made the decision to divert to Chicago.

"Due to a disruptive passenger on board and out of an abundance of caution, the flight was diverted to Chicago and landed at 4:22 a.m. local time," Alaska Airlines told CNN.

Chicago police met the flight at the gate and escorted the belligerent passenger off the flight "without incident." There was no word whether any charges have been filed against the passenger, but the the Federal Aviation Administration says they plan on investigating the incident.

The plane refueled and left for Philadelphia about an hour after they landed in Chicago.

Photo: Getty Images

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