Pilot Arrested In Front Of Passengers


An American Airlines first officer was arrested for suspected alcohol impairment and handcuffed in front of the passengers he was supposed to help fly from Detroit to Philadelphia early Saturday. Police say the unidentified 50-year-old man from Philadelphia failed a field breath test and then a second one after a security agent noticed he was behaving strangely while waiting to head to the cockpit. His breath test readings were not released but the legal limit for pilots is .04 percent and most airlines have a zero tolerance policy. “This is a serious matter and we are assisting local law enforcement and the Federal Aviation Administration with the investigation,”American Airlines said in a statement. “We will handle this matter appropriately as the safety and care of our customers and employees is our highest priority.”

As the pilot was loaded into a police SUV, passengers who had expected to go to Philadelphia (many were making connections for spring break vacations) were instead herded back into the gate where the airline started rebooking them. The fate of the pilot and any charges he may be facing weren’t immediately released but some passengers were hoping for compensation or at least an apology. Others saw some humor in the hassle. Instagram user jxnnabar snapped an image of three teenaged girls napping on an airport bench with the comment “when your pilot gets drunk, your flight gets cancelled and you’ve been up since 2 a.m.”