AirTran pilot arrested at MSP for alleged boozing before Milwaukee flight


Either the party went on too long, or it was just getting started, but either way an AirTran Airways pilot was arrested at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday for allegedly hitting the sauce before going to work. So the party's over.

After TSA officer smelled alcohol on the pilot's breath, MSP police nabbed the unidentified pilot before he took controls of an AirTran flight to Milwaukee with 112 passengers on board.


It's not as if the pilot, a captain, was falling down drunk. His blood alcohol level measured 0.05 percent after a Breathalyzer test, a fraction over the FAA legal limit, but still considerably lower than the legal limit of 0.08 percent for drivers in Minnesota.

Still, that's a pretty early hour for a pop.

FAA's own pilot guidelines suggest its unlikely the pilot arrested Saturday was getting over a party from the night before. And FAA rules prohibit pilots from drinking any alcohol within eight hours before reporting for duty.

The AirTran pilot was released after the blood alcohol level test and his case is being investigated, and won't be flying again until the matter is resolved.

The flight got going after a 35-minute delay while AirTran found a new pilot to take the controls.