Minutes Before Takeoff From London to Philly, Pilot Arrested

The 62-year-old appeared intoxicated right before the late-morning flight
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2019 8:18 AM CST
American Air Flight From London Axed After Pilot's Arrest
In this April 13, 2018, file photo, an American Airlines plane taxis at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

If you were booked on Flight AA35 out of the UK's Manchester Airport on Thursday morning, you may have been annoyed at your last-minute rebooking. Reading the news Friday, however, should ease your mind that the right call was made. USA Today reports that the American Airlines flight to Philly was canceled not because of mechanical or weather issues, but because of a conundrum with the pilot: He appeared to be intoxicated. "Officers attended and a 62-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of performing an aviation function when over the prescribed limit of alcohol," a Greater Manchester Police rep tells the Manchester Evening News.

The pilot—one of three set to man the flight, per CBS Philadelphia—was apparently removed just minutes before the plane was due to take off: Departure was set for 11:05am, and cops got the call just before 11. The flight was nixed, and passengers were rebooked on "alternative flights," per the airline. "Safety is our highest priority and we apologize to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans." The unidentified pilot is now out on bail. (This isn't the first AA pilot headed for Philly who started drinking beforehand.)

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