British Airways Says No More Ecig Sales on Flights
After an employee faced an unfortunate confrontation by border control agents in the Middle East, British Airways has decided to ban ecig sales on all flights. The Mirror reported this week that a British Airways crew member was detained at the border of Qatar when officials discovered he was carrying an electronic cigarette. It seems that airline employees are finding out the hard way that many Middle Eastern countries have very strict regulations regarding electronic cigarettes and imports.
Qatar border agents stopped the employee on January 13 and held him for an intense interrogation. He was eventually released, but they confiscated his electronic cigarette. The airline fears that it is just too risky to allow employees and passengers to carry ecigs through border patrol stations. “BA has become aware that e-cigarettes can cause issues when taken into some countries due to local legislation,” the airline explained in a newsletter. “With immediate effect, the product has been removed from long-haul flights to these destinations, which include Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.”
The airline will also take great lengths to warn their staff and passengers about the risks of traveling with ecigs in these restricted areas. Some airline personnel believe the crew member was not targeted due to the electronic cigarette, but was picked because of his job. They believe a normal passenger would not necessarily face the same level of interrogation, but they don’t want to take any risks. Encounters with Quatar law enforcement are notably scary and the country has a poor reputation for human rights issues. Rory Sutherland from the Ogilvy Group UK said he was once imprisoned in Qatar after using an electronic cigarette on a flight. He said the experience was “terrifying” and now the airline doesn’t want others to face the same fate.
A spokesman for British Airways said, “We have stopped selling e-cigarettes on some of our flights to ensure that no one inadvertently falls foul of local regulations.”
Have you ever been stopped by border patrol agents because you were carrying an electronic cigarette?