United Airlines Pilot Arrived at Work 'Staggering, Eyes Glassy'

He was arrested on suspicion of drunkenness, sentenced by French court
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2023 1:30 AM CDT
United Airlines Pilot Arrived for Flight Drunk: Cops
A United Airlines jetliner taxis down a runway for departure from Denver International Airport Thursday, July 13, 2023, in Denver.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A 63-year-old American pilot arrived at Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport, where he was scheduled Sunday to fly a United Airlines plane to Washington, DC. Problem being that he was obviously drunk, police say. "He was staggering slightly, his eyes were glassy, and his mouth pasty" when he showed up around 3pm local time, an officer says, per Business Insider. He said all he'd had to drink were two glasses of wine the night prior, but authorities say his blood alcohol content was 0.132%, more than six times Europe's legal limit for pilots and three times the Federal Aviation Administration's limit.

A French court on Tuesday gave him a six-month suspended prison sentence, the Local reports. He was fined nearly $5,000 and his pilot's license was suspended for a year. "The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority. We hold all our employees to the highest standards and have a strict no-tolerance policy for alcohol," a United Airlines spokesperson says in a statement. "This employee was immediately removed from service and we are fully cooperating with local authorities." Last month, a Delta Air Lines pilot who was allegedly too drunk to fly was arrested just 35 minutes before he was scheduled to take off. (And there's no shortage of other stories like these.)

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