Delta pilot nailed for (allegedly) drunk-flying from Amsterdam to Newark

It’s a long flight from Amsterdam to the New York City/Newark area. I’ve done it. I get antsy and bored. I bring lots of stuff to do. Anything that could make the time pass a little faster would make it onto my list … and that includes putting a few cocktails back.

Of course, I’m not the guy flying the plane.

A Delta pilot was arrested and fined for being drunk, allegedly, when getting ready to fly from Amsterdam to Newark.The (alleged) culprit hasn’t been identified yet, but the Associated Press reports that he’s 52 years old (translation: old enough to know better) and is from Woodbury, NJ.

What Delta has to say on the subject, according to ABC News, is that Flight 35 was “cancelled out of concern that a crew member appeared to be unfit for duty.”

Okay, it isn’t not true …
Here’s a little more from the airline, via ABC News:

“Local Amsterdam authorities have met with the crew member to begin their investigation and we are cooperating fully, while simultaneously launching our own internal investigation,” Delta said in a statement. “The crew member has been suspended pending the outcome of these investigations. Impacted passengers have been reaccomodated on other flights.”

Delta claims to have one of the “strictest” alcohol policies in the airline industry, telling pilots not to show up for work with any alcohol in their bodies. It sounds severe: I have a glass of wine while I’m working from time to time … but I’m only a blogger. Lives are not at stake.

The pilot blew a 0.023 percent result, which puts him a bit over the legal limit in the Netherlands. This cost him $900 in fines, but he was set free. One does hope that Delta isn’t finished with him yet.

Drunk United Airlines pilot pulled off plane minutes before departure

A United Airlines pilot was pulled from his plane yesterday on charges that he was about to fly to Chicago while drunk.

After he failed a breathalyzer test, he was arrested and subsequently released on bond. United did not release the name of the pilot, but did confirm an employee was “removed from service”.

The flight in question was United 949, scheduled to depart London Heathrow at 12:05pm All 124 passengers had to be moved to other flights as no replacement pilot was available. The passengers were told that the pilot was “sick”.

The airline did not release any more information about the incident. The British press reported his age as 51.

Sadly, drunk pilots are not all that uncommon. When we recently compiled some of the worst incidents involving the flight crew, four of the ten involved booze in the flight deck.

Man sues United, claiming alcohol service caused him to beat his wife

A man on a flight from Osaka to San Francisco had too much to drink. Soon after landing, he started beating his wife. After he ended up in police custody and sobered up, he didn’t sheepishly apologize to his wife. Nope. He decided to sue United for serving him too much alcohol, which, he alleges, caused him become violent. The man, Yoichi Shimamoto, was arrested by police at a customs checkpoint after he struck his wife in the face half-a-dozen times. The suit alleges that United’s cabin crew served him wine at 20-minute intervals throughout the flight and that he was so drunk that he could not control himself. Shinamoto and his spouse are seeking $100,000 from the airline as well as more money for pain and suffering.

United responded to the suit, saying “We believe that a lawsuit that suggests that we are somehow responsible for the consequences of a passenger’s physical assault on his own wife is without any merit whatsoever.”

[via Today in the Sky]

United Airlines Pilot Arrested at Heathrow on Suspicion of Being Drunk

A 44-year-old United Airlines pilot was arrested at London Heathrow this morning on suspicion of being drunk. The man’s name has not yet been released. He was arrested under Britain’s transportation safety laws, which include a strict limit on the alcohol levels of pilots.

United made a statement about the arrest:

“United Airlines’ alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have absolutely no tolerance for abuse or violation of this well-established policy. Safety is our No. 1 priority and the pilot has been removed from service while we are co-operating with authorities and conducting a full investigation.”

The man was scheduled to act as first officer on a United flight from Heathrow to San Francisco. He was arrested as the plane sat at the gate in Terminal One. He was bailed out of Heathrow’s police station soon after his arrest but will have to return on January 16th of next year to face an inquiry.

Drunk Man Tries to Hijack Turkish Airlines Flight

A man on a Turkish Airlines flight from the resort town of Antalya, Turkey to the Russian city of St. Petersburg threatened to blow up the plane unless it was diverted. The man, who appeared to be drunk, approached a flight attendant and handed her a note to give to the pilot: “I have a bomb. If you don’t take me in (the cockpit) I will blow it up,” As he stumbled toward the front of the plane, he was overpowered by passengers. No explosives were found despite his insistence that there was a bomb strapped on his body. He appeared so inebriated that passengers did not take him seriously.

Turkish journalists have reported that the man was an Uzbek national, but his identity and true nationality have not yet been confirmed. After he was subdued, the plane continued on to its destination, though Turkish Airlines officials briefly considered setting it down immediately as a precaution. There were 167 passengers on board the aircraft, an Airbus A-320.


What other trouble is up in the skies?

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