Runs To Bathroom After Passengers Accuse Him Of Drinking
No one knows for certain whether the
Southwest Airlines pilot accused of being drunk by passengers at
Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) this week was actually
too intoxicated to fly, except for the pilot himself... but it sure
doesn't look good, and the airline has put the man in question on
paid leave while the FAA looks into the matter.
WBNS-10 in Columbus, OH reports two passengers noticed the pilot
appeared intoxicated as he went through a security checkpoint
"As we went through security, we told the TSA guy, 'Hey, that
pilot smells like he's reeking of alcohol. He ought to be checked
out,'" said Andy Maisner, who along with business colleague Chan
Mahon was traveling to Los Angeles.
The two men then followed the pilot down the concourse. As the
pilot approached the gate where their flight was scheduled to
depart from, Mahon approached the pilot, alarmed.
"So we went up, and Chan said to the pilot, 'Hey, you just reek
of alcohol, and if you've got a drinking problem, you shouldn't be
flying this plane,'" Maisner said.
What the men say happened next certainly raises eyebrows. "The
guy just took off running. He didn't say, 'I haven't been
drinking.' He just turned beet red and took off," Maisner said.
CMH officials later found the man in a restroom stall. The pilot
had removed his uniform jacket and hat, and told police he called
had in sick for his scheduled flight to Orlando.
The pilot denied he had been drinking, but added he "partied
hard (the night before) at the hotel," according to the CMH report.
Southwest says the pilot was given a blood test to determine
intoxication, though the results weren't yet available.
As most pilots are aware, FAA regulations for the level of legal
intoxication are stricter than most state laws, with anyone showing
a blood-alcohol content of 0.04 or
higher considered drunk. Pilots are also prohibited from
drinking any alcohol within eight hours of taking the controls of