United Airlines Grounds Five Jets Due to Conflicting ‘No Smoking’ Sign Rule


United Airlines Grounds 5 Jets Because of Unusual ‘No Smoking’ Sign Regulation

United Airlines experienced delays on Monday due to the grounding of five jets as a result of a peculiar rule about “No Smoking” signs, according to an airline spokesperson. The airline had written to the Department of Transportation earlier in the day to request an exemption from a requirement that flight crew be able to turn the signs on or off. Despite the fact that smoking has been banned on all US flights for 24 years, this rule exists.

United explained that four of its Boeing models have “hardwired” signs that stay illuminated at all times and were granted an exemption back in 2020. However, the A321neo, which entered service last December, did not have an exemption from the rule. United ordered 70 of these jets in 2021 and an additional 60 last year, with its updated “United Next” interior. Only two A321neos were in service during this time and all later scheduled flights using them were swapped to other aircraft types.

The FAA also mentioned that they are working to quickly resolve a non-safety issue that United Airlines discovered with some of its Airbus A321neo aircraft. Later on, a United spokesperson announced that the FAA granted permission to continue operating the jets while evaluating the exemption request. The spokesperson stated that there were only a “handful of delays” during the time the A321neos were briefly out of service.

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