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culture | 12.02.2019

Plane Made Emergency Landing Because Something Smelt Like Weed

No, it wasn’t Justin Bieber’s plane. A recent British Airways flight had to make an unscheduled landing smelling like weed.

Do you remember the days when you could actually use the cigarette ashtrays in the airplane seat arms? Not many people do. With security screenings and pat downs the norm for many of us today, getting weed onto an airplane seems almost as impossible as actually getting away with smoking it in one. But despite the security, a recent British Airways flight had to make an emergency landing due to the smell of weed.

Flying high before emergency landing

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Thursday’s 8.15am flight from Gatwick Airport to Heraklion went a little funky. The pungent aroma of herb forced a trip from Great Britain to Greece to turn around over Paris and return to Gatwick Airport. Stuart Barnes and his family were just a few of the passengers inconvenienced from the ordeal.

There was a faint smell when we got on. We were told that they hoped when they put the air conditioning on it would clear, but it got even stronger.

You could tell straight away what it was. Everyone at the back of the plane was saying it smelled of cannabis. We’ve been to Amsterdam and we know what it smells like. Our daughters could smell it but didn’t know what it was.

BA have been very quiet at giving us an explanation. All they said was the cabin crew was ill from a pungent smell at the back of the aircraft. We were four rows from the back and the whole back of the plane stank. The smell was unmistakable.

The cost of dankness

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While a British Airways spokesperson said that the claims of cabin crew falling ill from the smell are incorrect, she added,

Our pilot returned the aircraft to Gatwick as a precaution following reports of an unidentified strong smell in the cabin. We are sorry for the delay to our customers’ journeys.

That delay, between the turnaround, the flight back, waiting on another plane, and flying out again took over 6 hours. At up to £700 a ticket for the trip, British Airways has 174 very unhappy passengers. That doesn’t even include the irate passengers in Heraklion who were expecting to board the plane when it got there.

None of the passengers or crew were found to be in possession of cannabis, nor was it found on the plane. Nevertheless, the precautionary pitstop put the company back some £50,000.

Weed on an airplane

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Sure it sounds quicker and easier than a trip by car, but smuggling weed through an airport comes with its own risks. Luggage goes through x-rays and random hand searches. Dogs at airports could be trained to sniff out the drug, along with other illegal substances and explosives. So how is anyone expected to get through? If you want to avoid an incident like this, here are some tips:

  • Use flexible, smell proof containers (hard objects show up distinctly on x-ray)
  • Don’t use or have the smell on you when boarding (screeners could pick you out for smelling like weed)
  • Don’t act nervous or scared (screeners watch for suspicious behavior)
  • Avoid the full body x-ray if possible (it could show foreign objects in your body)
  • Don’t try to carry a lot (the most frequent busts occur with larger quantities)
  • When hiding in a container, don’t use liquids (most airports have size restrictions)

Some airports, like those in Oregon, don’t care if you carry personal amounts on in-state flights. Even in Colorado, where adult use is legal, however, the practice is banned. The safest thing is to just wait and score it from someone when you land. After all, weed is the most popular illegal substance in the world. I’m sure you can find it almost anywhere.

Have you ever flown with weed on a plane? What method did you use to conceal it? Have you ever experienced an emergency landing? Tell us on social media or in the comments below.

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