A pilot was removed from a British Airways flight just moments before take-off. The close call undoubtedly had passengers wiping their brows and praising the airline for taking action.
The incident occurred on Thursday at Gatwick Airport on a flight to Mauritius. Colleagues of the pilot in question noticed that he smelled of alcohol and became concerned. Once alerted, British Airways (BA) didn't hesitate to have the intoxicated pilot removed by police—potentially saving the lives of the 300 passengers and personnel on board.
"We are taking this matter extremely seriously," said a BA spokesman.
A pilot was taken off a flight after fears were raised he was drunk.— BBC Newsbeat (@BBCNewsbeat) January 20, 2018
The British Airways flight to Mauritius on Thursday was delayed & the pilot replaced, BA said.
BA has apologised for the delay & said: "We are taking this matter extremely seriously."https://t.co/awZmQ7Az97 pic.twitter.com/7pUSuBhiKJ
The flight was delayed while a replacement pilot was found. The 49-year-old first officer was arrested and remains in police custody.
Twitter applauded British Airways for putting the safety of their passengers and crew first:
A very good look that they removed him immediately after their own staff reported it. They can’t help if an employee comes to work drunk. Pretty solid reaction in my book— Daniel Washford (@DWashford) January 20, 2018
All fairness to BA, their staff called the police on the idiot.— CloverButtonshield (@CloverBloodhand) January 20, 2018
Others debated implementing a mandatory breathalyzer test before take-off:
New law: Every pilot to take a breathalyser test before take off— Zahra Kosser (@ZahraKosser) January 20, 2018
Can't pilots just blow into a test before flights! Not embarrassing if you are sober! And safer!— Mary Aylward (@lulumary17) January 20, 2018
They should blow. As passengers we are required to remove our shoes, strip down to our panties and step up to the scale (or it feels like it, anyway).— Chowderhead Records (@ChowderheadReco) January 20, 2018
And the opposition:
The cost of having every pilot breathalyzed before flight would be outrageous. Pilots and flight attendants have random drug and alcohol tests. The coworkers in this case did what was right.— Adekemi (@Adekemi__) January 20, 2018
So rare...knee jerk reaction will only add cost to your ticket— Todd Ford (@armchairlonghai) January 20, 2018
Do you submit to testing every time you do anything at your job? Didn’t think so.— Johnsojm15 (@johnsojm15) January 20, 2018
And some noted their preference for other forms of transportation: