For the most part, planes pretty much fly themselves these days, but still, no way in hell I want a drunk pilot flying my plane. I want that sweet old church man that spends his free time working at the homeless shelter, has spent the last 30 years flying commercial jets, and has never had a drop of alcohol in his life. That’s my ideal pilot. Straight-edge as they come.
That wasn’t the case for United Airlines flight 162 yesterday, which was eventually canceled after BOTH pilots got too drunk to fly the plane. Not one pilot, both of them.
According to The Sun, two United pilots were arrested for violations of the Railways and Transport Safety Act of 2003 on Saturday before their flight from Scotland to Newark Airport in New Jersey. The pilots, aged 45 and 61, have not yet been charged, but remain in police custody.
A United Airlines spokesman told The Sun Online:
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority. We hold all of our employees to the highest standards and have a strict, no tolerance policy for alcohol. These pilots were immediately removed from service and we are fully cooperating with local authorities. At this time, we are working to get our customers back on their journey as soon as possible.”
To be fair, the drinking limit for commercial pilots is a BAC below 0.04, which is pretty much one drink. And to be even more fair, these two guys were in Scotland and you pretty much can’t go to Scotland without having a beer. I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure they just hand you a pint the second you arrive in the country, and probably another right before you leave. That good ol’ fashioned Scottish hospitality, you know?
But still, it’s not like these lads had to blow at the gate or anything like that. It’s not like pilots are hitting a breathalyzer on the ignition to get the thing running like half my redneck cousin back home do before they can start their truck. They must’ve been pretty shitfaced, or wreaked like booze for someone to stop and question them. I’m a bit of a nervous flier, but imagine seeing this fella slamming down tall boys at the bar just minutes before he hops into the cockpit of your plane.
Suddenly, I think I left something back at the gate, feel free to take off without me…