United pilot suspended after arriving for shift three times over the limit

United Boeing 777-224
Ian Abbott / Flickr

A United Airlines pilot has had his license suspended for a year after arriving for a shift in France three times over the legal alcohol limit. He has also been given a six-month suspended prison sentence. 

The 63-year-old pilot reportedly arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on July 23, 2023, for his shift flying to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). 

According to The Local, a police officer told a French court on July 25, 2023, that the pilot was “showing signs of obvious drunkenness”. 

“He was staggering slightly, his eyes were glassy and his mouth pasty,” the officer said.  

Defending himself, the pilot told the court that he only had two glasses to drink the night before the flight, which was scheduled to depart at 5pm. 

One Mile at a Time reported that the United Airlines pilot was given a six-month suspended sentence, a €4,500 ($4,948) fine and a one-year suspension of his pilot’s license. 

When sentencing the pilot, the judge told him that there “could have been a plane crash – you put 267 passengers at risk”. 

United Airlines have since confirmed that the employee was “immediately removed” from service and that the carrier is cooperating with French authorities.  

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority. We hold all our employees to the highest standards and have a strict no-tolerance policy for alcohol,” a United Airlines spokesperson said in a statement.  

Flight UA331 was canceled due to the pilot’s action.

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