London police arrested an American Airlines pilot twenty minutes before he was scheduled to fly 204 passengers from London to Chicago. 57-year-old Captain Joseph Crites was four-times over the legal alcohol limit and reeking of booze when he tried to enter his Boeing 777’s cockpit.
The 10.15am flight yesterday – AA87 – was delayed while a replacement pilot was found and the Boeing 777 eventually took off at 11.30am.
American Airlines said today: “An American Airlines pilot was arrested at Heathrow yesterday having failed a breathalyser test. Police had been called by airport staff working at the security control post.
Arrests of drunken pilots are “quite infrequent,” said a police spokesman who declined to be named, in line with police policy. “They are not everyday occurrences.”
Crites is out on bail until July 16.