After causing a stir by mysteriously grounding its new Airbus A321neo planes on Monday, United Airways needs individuals to know the choice has nothing to do with security and isn’t even that thrilling. Somewhat, it has to do with the aircrafts’ “No Smoking” indicators, that are required by a 1990 legislation to be operated by the flight crew.

That’s not the case on the A321neo, which has software program that retains the “No Smoking” signal turned on repeatedly throughout flights, like many different plane in United’s fleet. In 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration authorised United’s request for an exemption to the federal regulation requiring the flight crew to manually function the “No Smoking” signal.

There’s only one drawback. United’s 2020 exemption solely applies to the plane it listed in its request at the moment, which didn’t embrace the A321neo. United solely lately obtained the primary fashions of its order of A321neos and began flying them final December.

In an announcement to Gizmodo, United confirmed that it had grounded all 5 of its A321neos on Monday whereas it seeks permission to add the aircraft to its existing exemption. The corporate added that the FAA has given United permission to fly its fleet of A321neos whereas the company evaluates the airline’s request. It’s unclear why United waited till this week to submit its exemption request for the A321neos.

“Because the FAA famous, this isn’t a security of flight difficulty. Our 5 A321neos have been briefly out of service on Monday whereas we labored by this difficulty with the FAA, leading to a handful of delays however no cancellations as we swapped that flying to different plane varieties in an effort to reduce disruption for our prospects,” United said.

An FAA spokesperson informed Gizmodo that the company was working shortly to resolve a non-safety difficulty that United had reported on its A321neos.

In its 2020 approval of United’s request for an exemption, the FAA famous that the “No Smoking” signal requirement was instituted when smoking was permitted on some flights at sure instances, however that rules had clearly modified.

“The FAA finds that ‘No Smoking’ indicators which might be mechanically and repeatedly illuminated are as secure as ‘No Smoking’ indicators which may be illuminated solely at sure instances,” the FAA mentioned at the moment. “A repeatedly illuminated ‘No Smoking’ signal that’s legible to every particular person seated within the cabin achieves the aim of informing occupants of the smoking prohibition.”

Smoking on planes has been banned in the U.S. in some form since no less than the Nineteen Eighties—with the outright ban on the follow coming in 2000.

This article originally appeared on Gizmodo.


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