Reports have emerged of a Japan Airlines flight attendant being dismissed after the crew member snuck into a passenger lavatory mid-flight and downed a can of beer. The incident took place on the 22nd May during the airline’s JL8791 service from Honolulu, Hawaii to Kansai, Osaka.
The male flight attendant who was reportedly based in Bangkok is said to have been spotted by an eagle-eyed passenger going into the toilet with the can of beer. Emerging a short time later but minus the drink, the passenger decided to investigate and found the empty can in the waste bin.
The passenger decided not to say anything at the time and instead contacted Japan Airlines online. The carrier immediately started an investigation and spoke with the crew member concerned as a matter of urgency.
At this point, you might think the flight attendant could have said he didn’t have any knowledge of the situation or that he was simply disposing of the beer. However, the flight attendant did, in fact, admit to consuming the beer and has been removed from duties.
According to reports, the flight attendant had only been working for the airline since April 2017 and has been flying for around eight months. It’s not known whether the crew member suffers from an alcohol dependency issue or whether Japan Airlines intends to offer the flight attendant any support.
In a statement, the airline has acknowledged that the incident did in fact happen and has said it takes the “violation” of company policy and Japenese aviation law “seriously”. A spokesperson for Japan Airlines says it “sincerely apologizes to the passengers on this flight.”
“Safety remains our utmost priority and will implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence and to regain our customer`s trust in the company.”
The country’s aviation regulator, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport stipulates that cabin crew are not permitted to consume any alcohol within 12-hours of reporting for duty. The airline has also pointed out that no alcohol can be consumed during the duty period either.
Japan Airlines says regulators have “reprimanded” the airline for the breach.
According to some reports, until recently Japan Airlines allowed flight attendants a small taste of an alcoholic drink before it serving to customers – such as using a straw – in order to make sure the beverage was to the correct taste.