By Andrea Romano
August 06, 2019

Two United Airlines pilots have been arrested in Glasgow, Scotland after apparently failing breathalyzer tests before a flight to Newark, New Jersey, Huffington Post reported.

Both pilots were scheduled on the flight between Glasgow International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday, Aug. 3, according to NBC News. The pilots were arrested shortly before boarding the flight.

According to the Huffington Post, aviation law states that staff members found guilty of intoxication, either by alcohol or drugs, maybe punished up to two years in prison or a hefty fine. The legal limit for pilots in Scotland is 9 micrograms of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood (less than half of the legal limit for drivers), Huffington Post reported. It is unclear what the pilots blood-alcohol content was, and their charges are yet to be defined.

Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Pilots in the past have faced serious consequences for getting drunk on the job. Back in 2018, an Alaska Airlines pilot was sentenced to one year plus one day in federal prison after pleading guilty to flying a plane with more than 80 passengers while under the influence of alcohol. He was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine in addition to his sentence.

The flight, United Airlines Flight 162, was immediately canceled after the arrest. Passengers were given hotel and meal vouchers for the inconvenience, according to CNN, as well as re-booked on alternate flights.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority. We hold all of our employees to the highest standards and have a strict, no-tolerance policy for alcohol,” said United Airlines spokesman Jonathan Guerin. “These pilots were immediately removed from service and we are fully cooperating with local authorities.”

The two pilots will be in police custody until their court appearance on Tuesday, Aug. 6, according to NBC News.

Just last February, American Airlines had a similar situation when a pilot on a flight from Manchester to Philadelphia also “appeared drunk” shortly before take off. The pilot was also arrested and the flight was canceled as well.

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