Spring Breakers’ Plans Ruined Due to Pilot’s Apparent Drunken State

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Most of us have experienced having to painfully roll out of bed to make an early work shift after a late night of drinking the night before. It’s always a struggle, but no matter how slow time passes, the shift comes to an end and you can return to bed and nurse your hangover. But this is not the case for every early morning shift. When it comes to arriving to work to co-pilot a commercial airline flight for hundreds of passengers, there are much graver consequences.

Saturday morning, a pilot for an American Airlines flight headed from Detroit to Philadelphia was arrested for failing a breathalyzer test.  A TSA agent was the first person to notice the pilot “acting suspiciously” and minutes before the flight was to take off at 7 AM, the airport police were notified. The Wayne County Airport Authority administered a breathalyzer test, which the pilot failed and resulted in the airport police taking him into custody. The pilot was then “turned over to Romulus police, where he failed another breathalyzer test.”

The Federal Aviation Administration recommends that pilots wait at least 24 hours from their last sip of alcohol before flying. However, the FAA requires that “no person may operate or attempt to operate an aircraft” within eight hours of having consumed alcohol or “with a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent or greater.” Though this unnamed pilot’s blood alcohol content has not been released, Michael Conway, Director of Public Affairs at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, reported that the pilot’s BAC was over the 0.04 percent limit. Conway further commented that this is an “extremely unusual” situation and said the pilot has been released as authorities determine whether charges will be filed.

Due to this pilot’s irresponsible drinking, the American Airlines flight was cancelled. Despite this airline’s bad reputation with canceling flights without offering accommodations, under these unique circumstances, American Airlines offered other flights for its passengers. Many of the passengers, on their way to enjoy their spring break in Philly, had to postpone or cancel their spring break plans. Though I am sure they were all shocked and disappointed, especially the spring breakers who had to postpone their spring break dreams, this will probably be a story they will never forget.

Ashlyn Marquez
Ashlyn Marquez received her law degree from the American University, Washington College of Law and her Bachelor’s degree from The New School. She works in immigration law and has a passion for worker’s rights, tacos, and avocados. Contact Ashlyn at



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