Increasing amount of pilots under influence?
Recently there have been a few cases of pilots having a drink before or even mid-flight. BBC mentioned that on the 28th of August two pilots were arrested just before taking off with 141 passengers on board. Both have been removed from service and their flying duties.
Also, in April this year, abc7NY mentioned that during a court interview a co-pilot stated that he saw his colleague “drinking an unknown beverage from a cup before and during” the day’s flight. This day he had been flying two flights, a JetBlue round-trip between Kennedy Airport and Orlando International Airport, being responsible for a total of 270 passengers.
Apparently, it is pretty common. CBS News comments that every few months, somewhere in the world, a pilot is stopped for suspicion of intoxication. There are many cases wherein pilots are caught drinking on the job and later have returned to doing their job.
KLM flying with Heineken on board
On the 31st of August the first draft beer trolley ‘Heineken flight-mode’ has been used by KLM. The trolley will be deployed on future flights to big events or those with special occasions on board. Now the question arises whether this will influence the pilots’ drinking behaviour. Can all pilots withstand the temptation?
According to the FAA data, there seems to be no leveling or decreasing in alcohol misuse trends. Thereby, consequences of being caught drinking or being under influence can and will result in high jail times. Going back to the JetBlue case. If convicted, the pilot faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.