The sole flight attendant on a United Express flight from Chicago O’Hare to South Bend in Indiana was arrested by police on suspicion of being intoxicated last week it has emerged. A witness to the Friday 2nd August incident says they noticed the flight attendant slurring her words as she read out the safety announcement before apparently passing out on the jumpseat at the front of the aircraft.
Hey @united, our flight attendant appears to be quite drunk on this from from ORD to SBN. She is slurring her speech (she couldn’t make it through the security announcement), couldn’t walk straight/was bumping into everyone in the aisle, and kept dropping things.
— Aaron Scherb (@aaronscherb) August 2, 2019
The flight was operated by United’s regional partner Air Wisconson on a Bombardier CRJ-200 which seats just 50 passengers. These small regional aircraft require just one flight attendant along with two flight crew.
Aaron Scherb, who was a passenger on the flight, sent a Tweet to United Airlines explaining his fears that the flight attendant “appeared quite drunk”. Apparently, the flight attendant was bumping into things and people during the flight and kept on dropping things.
“After everyone boarded the flight and we were still parked at the gate, the flight attendant began the security announcement, which seemed very slurred,” Scherb said in an email to the Miami Herald.
“She stopped after about 10 seconds without finishing,” he said of the flight attendant, before adding that she appeared to either pass out or fall asleep while seated on her jumpseat. Despite these concerns, the flight departed Chicago O’Hare and arrived in South Bend around 20 minutes later.
On arrival, however, law enforcement were said to be waiting for the flight attendant at the top of the jetty. Initially, there was concern the flight attendant may have had a Stroke but she was soon arrested on suspicion of being intoxicated and taken to a local jail.
According to reports from a local newspaper in South Bend, the regional airline operator confirmed the incident saying: “The flight attendant was detained by authorities after a report of possible impairment.”
“We are investigating the situation and fully cooperating with the local authorities,” the statement continued.
United Airlines referred media enquiries to Air Wisconsin as the flight attendant was one of its employees. Air Wisconsin, which made headlines over the ICE arrest of a flight attendant in March did not immediately respond with an update on the incident.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.