A British Airways flight attendant has been arrested for being drunk and possibly even high on drugs during a flight from Gran Canaria to London Gatwick, a spokesperson for Sussex Police has confirmed.
Passengers looked on in “shock” as the female member of cabin crew was led off the Airbus A320 aircraft by armed cops, according to a report in The Sun.
Police were called to meet the British Airways flight BA2601 last Thursday after the pilots radioed ahead to share their concerns about the flight attendant. As well as suspecting the crew member was drunk, it has been reported that colleagues also feared that she might be high on drugs.
The 41-year-old flight attendant failed a breathalyser test on arrival at Gatwick Airport and was immediately taken into custody for questioning. A spokesperson for Sussex Police commented:
“Officers arrested a 41-year-old woman on suspicion of performing an aviation function when over the prescribed limit for alcohol, contrary to the Railways and Transport Act 2003. She has been bailed, pending further enquiries.”
The legal blood alcohol limit for pilots and cabin crew is just 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, and crew members are generally advised to stop drinking at least eight hours before a flight to avoid falling foul of the rules.
In 2018, a pilot for Japan Airlines for jailed for 10 months after he was found to be more than eight times over the limit when he arrived at Heathrow Airport to operate a flight back to Tokyo.
The following year, a veteran American Airlines flight attendant narrowly avoided a prison sentence after she was found guilty of turning up for work nearly four times over the alcohol limit.
The British Airways flight attendant is employed by BA Euroflyer – a low-cost subsidiary of the airline where pilots and cabin crew are paid significantly less than their peers at Heathrow Airport.
British Airways set up Euroflyer as part of its return to Gatwick Airport following the pandemic. The airline insists that low wages are essential to make the business viable against budget competitors who dominate the Sussex airport.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the airline said it was helping police with their investigation.
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.