A Victory for Smokers' Rights
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Aeroflot Airlines has declared a victory for smokers' rights, overturning a U.S. ban on smoking aboard aircraft.
A spokeswoman for Aeroflot, the flagship airline of a country with one of the highest rates of tobacco use in the world, said it had reached a compromise over a ban that it saw as an infringement of national sovereignty.
``I think that this is a fair compromise and is in the best interests not only of our own smokers, but of those from other countries who fly on our airline because we allow them the option of smoking,'' the spokeswoman said.
The deal, reached after a month of negotiations with U.S. transport officials, allows Aeroflot to reserve up to 16 percent of economy class seats and 40 percent of business class for smokers.
There are no limits on smoking in first class or in the pilots' cabin, but the U.S. transport department will require the airline to notify passengers when they purchase their tickets that smoking will be allowed on the aircraft.