The sole flight attendant on an Air Wisconsin operated United Express flight who was arrested for being drunk has agreed to attend alcohol abuse counselling as part of a pre-trial diversion agreement. The story of Julianne March, a veteran flight attendant at Air Wisconsin, went viral earlier this month when a video emerged of her slumped in her jumpseat, under the influence of alcohol.
The 49-year-old native of Waukesha, Wisconsin was arrested by police after operating a flight between Chicago O’Hare and South Bend, Indiana in a drunken state on Friday 2nd August. Passengers say she was slurring her speech as she read out the safety announcement and appeared to briefly pass out during the time she was sat on her jumpseat.
At other points, March stumbled through the cabin and bumped into passengers as she struggled to walk in a straight direction. Because the flight was operated by a small regional Bombardier CRJ-200 which seats just 50 passengers, March was the only flight attendant onboard.
Court documents revealed that March’s blood-alcohol level was over three times the maximum permitted by the FAA. Both flight attendants and pilots are not allowed to consume any alcohol within eight hours of a duty (the so-called “bottle to throttle” rule) and cannot have a blood alcohol level over 0.4%. Some airlines, including United Airlines and Delta, have imposed an additional time-limit after a series of recent controversies.
At a court hearing this week, March agreed to undergo alcohol abuse evaluation and counselling. A charge of public intoxication will be dropped after one year if the terms of the agreement are adhered to.
Within days of the incident, March had been sacked by Air Wisconsin which said it was fully cooperating with local authorities. Her attorney is reported to have told the court that March “is using this experience as a positive turning point in her life.” United Airlines declined to comment and referred media enquiries to its regional partner.