There’s no question this happens far more often with passengers, like this American Airlines customer who “pulled his pants down, arched his back,” and made a mess of his seat before being sent to the lavatory where he promptly passed out on the floor. Need I add that you shouldn’t ever go into an aircraft lavatory without shoes?
Nearly every inflight disturbance involves alcohol. You’re certainly going to get in trouble for bringing your own. I once sat next to a woman who got written up by American for bringing a cup of wine onboard a Dallas – Austin flight from the Admirals Clubs. (Alaska Airlines seems to be a bit less punitive about this stuff.)
Here’s what a British Airways ‘Yellow Card’ Looks Like:
You don’t often see flight crew drunk, but when you do it’s a big deal. I was much more concerned when this American co-pilot was arrested on suspicion of being drunk (a reader at the time asked, “Does this mean AA is back serving pre-departure drinks?”) than I did when when a British Airways flight attendant was identified as drunk because she was reading her book upside down or when this Alaska flight was delayed due to a drunk flight attendant.
Here’s a trick I picked up from Joseph Hazelwood, Captain of the Exxon Valdez (who – when his first mate told him about being ‘on the rocks’ – said, “no thanks matey, I’ll take mine straight up”): always carry People magazine, the pictures make it much easier to know which side is up when you need to bury your head in reading.
That wouldn’t have helped an American Airlines flight attendant who drank too much before turning up for work in Manchester, UK.
Stacy Rosehill, 57, had already boarded the American Airlines Chicago-bound flight and started carrying out in-flight safety checks, but security staff at the airport smelled drink on her breath and called the police.
Reportedly she had gone to dinner at a restaurant where you bring and pour your own wine. Then she drank a whiskey from the minibar at 2 a.m. She ‘felt fine for work’. But she was 8 times the legal limit set by the UK Aviation Act and twice the legal drinking limit.
She tested positive with a reading of 71mg in 100ml in breath. The legal limit set by the UK Aviation Act is 9mg in 100ml of breath. The legal drink driving limit is 35mg in 100ml breath, making her the equivalent of twice the drink drive limit.
Some of the reported details of the story are questionable, for instance that the Manchester – Chicago flight was operated by a Boeing 787 with 300 passengers onboard (Manchester – Chicago is generally operated with a Boeing 757, and the 787-8 seats 226 passengers).
American Airlines Boeing 787-8: Doesn’t Seat 300 Passengers, Doesn’t Generally Fly to Manchester
Her legal penalty? “She was fined £140, and ordered to pay £85 costs and £30 victim surcharge.” She faces disciplinary action by her employer in the states of course, but ~ US$320 seems a pretty light consequence.