An electronic cigarette in a Delta Airlines passenger's carry-on bag ignited Wednesday night while the aircraft was still on the tarmac, causing the flight to be delayed, the airline said.
Delta flight 689 was scheduled to depart Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport at 7:25 p.m. and arrive in St. Louis at 8:10 p.m. local time. Instead, it departed Atlanta at 7:50 p.m. and arrived in St. Louis at 8:51 local time, according to Delta's website.
Delta spokeswoman Ashley Black said, "During the boarding process of Delta Flight 689 traveling from ATL to STL around 7 p.m. Wednesday night, a customer's bag ignited from an e-cigarette. The bag was safely extinguished with no damage to the aircraft. The flight departed about 20 minutes past scheduled departure. It was an MD-90 aircraft with 160 passengers and 6 crew on board."
A spokesman for Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Andrew Gobeil, said the e-cigarette was inside a backpack, and there were no flames when the fire department arrived.
Gobeil said passengers were not evacuated from the plane.
According to Delta's website, electronic cigarettes are permitted onboard. The airline states, "Battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g., e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, e-hookahs, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems) when carried by passengers or crewmembers for personal use must be carried on one's person or in carry-on baggage only. Recharging of the devices and/or the batteries on board the aircraft is not permitted."