Not only is President Noynoy Aquino being talked about because of his ex-girlfriend's upcoming wedding, he is also the talk-of-the-town for allegedly smoking during his 14-hour return flight from San Francisco to Manila on Philippine Airlines flight PR 104.
Jojo A. Robles
Manila Standard Today
One of the good things about being President is that you get to bend the rules in your favor, Noynoy Aquino is finding out. Take that very strictly imposed ban on smoking in a commercial airliner, for example.
We’ve been told that during his recent 14-hour return flight on Philippine Airlines flight PR 104 from San Francisco to Manila, Aquino was allowed to smoke in violation of international and local aviation regulations. The feat was pulled off on the PAL 747-400 jumbo jet by simply preventing anyone to go up the upper, first-class deck of the plane (where Aquino was) through the stairs while the President smoked.
However, because the passenger areas of the plane do not really have exhaust vents to remove the scent of tobacco smoke, the smell could not be kept from the other people below. That’s how the other passengers got a whiff (pun intended) of what was going on—including the smokers on board who were displaying the symptoms of full-blown nicotine withdrawal syndrome but who were, unfortunately, not President.
Those who were on the flight could have sworn that Aquino wasn’t the only one smoking. They surmised that the people with Aquino lit up, as well, just to ensure that their boss wouldn’t be breaking civil aviation regulations all by himself.
Health, safety (depending on the stage of the airplane’s trip) and anti-terrorist considerations prohibit smoking in commercial aircraft, of course. But when you’re the chain-smoking President flying the nation’s flag carrier on a long trans-Pacific flight, the skies can be unbelievably friendly.