Delta Flight Canceled Because Pilot Arrested At Airport

Delta Flight Canceled Because Pilot Arrested At Airport

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A Delta Air Lines flight yesterday was canceled for a pretty concerning reason

Delta pilot arrested at Edinburgh Airport prior to flight

This incident happened on Friday, June 16, 2023, and involves Delta flight DL209 from Edinburgh (EDI) to New York (JFK). The flight was scheduled to be operated by a 25-year-old Boeing 767-300ER with the registration code N196DN.

So, what happened? At around 10AM (35 minutes before scheduled departure time), one of the pilots was arrested at the airport. Police Scotland has confirmed this incident, and that the arrest was in connection with the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003.

Delta has also confirmed in a statement that this incident happened, and that the Atlanta-based carrier is assisting authorities with their ongoing investigation.

The Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 covers alcohol and drug use by crew members, so it sounds like this incident is related to that. For what it’s worth, those regulations limit pilots to a blood alcohol level of 0.02, compared to the legal limit of 0.08 for driving. So even one drink in your system would be enough to be over the limit for operating an aircraft.

If a pilot is found to be intoxicated, they could not only lose their job, but could also be facing jail time, so the punishment here is serious.

A Delta flight was canceled because the pilot was arrested

How did this pilot get caught?

What remains to be seen is how exactly this pilot was caught. When it comes to pilots getting arrested at the airport for alcohol related incidents, usually they’re busted in one of several ways:

  • Sometimes their fellow crew members report them, as they notice unusual behavior, or smell alcohol on their breath
  • Sometimes security staff at the airport notice strange behavior from pilots, and call the police
  • While random tests are sometimes performed, these are usually done by the airlines, and in the carrier’s home country

We don’t have a sense yet of how this pilot was caught. For what it’s worth, I’m not seeing anything on social media from passengers on the flight, so it sounds like this wasn’t some huge spectacle, and that passengers probably had no clue what was going on.

Every so often we hear stories of pilots getting arrested for being over the legal limit for alcohol, and I imagine there are way more pilots who don’t get caught. Since this flight departed Scotland, it reminded me of how in 2019, a United Airlines flight from Glasgow to Newark was canceled because both pilots were over the legal alcohol limit.

Of course it’s totally irresponsible for pilots to be over the limit when they’re flying. They’re putting their passengers at risk, and they’re jeopardizing their careers. In fairness, I can see how this does happen once in a while (not that it’s okay, but…):

  • The alcohol limit for pilots is much lower than the limit to drive; so a pilot over the limit may very well not be “drunk”
  • Jet lag can be tough, and for some can lead to depression, drinking heavily, etc; pilots are also only human
  • Pilots often like to enjoy a destination, and in many places that can involve consuming some drinks

But still, I’m not sure how exactly this unfolded. Did the pilot just enjoy too many beers at a pub the night before, and the alcohol was still in his system? He must have been acting off, or something, or else one has to wonder how he was caught.

Did the pilot just have too many beers at a pub, or…?

Bottom line

A Delta flight on Friday from Edinburgh to New York was canceled after the captain was arrested at the airport in relation to alcohol and drug consumption. We don’t have any details beyond that, though this wouldn’t be the first time that a pilot for a US airline has been arrested at an airport in Scotland prior to operating a flight.

What do you make of this incident?

Conversations (33)
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  1. Paul Younger Guest

    It is extremely sad for the Pilot involved.
    I hope he gets any help he may need

    1. Marianne Guest

      As one of the passengers on that would be flight; nope, no sympathy for that pilot. The disruption this caused for my family returning with our daughter from uni was immense. It took 3 days to reach our destination, with a huge amount of luggage in tow. It was physically and emotionally draining. Delta was absolutely horrendous throughout.

  2. Donna Guest

    I was on that flight, it was sheer confusion. Needed wheelchair, help with luggage to get to rebooking, could not get anyone to help us, by the time we reached the rebooking line, we were the very last ones in line. We waited in line well over 3 hours, and being the last ones in line nothing was left, took us two days to get home.

  3. JR Guest

    Pilot's Rule #1: No laying on the drinkovers.

  4. Sammy Guest

    Was it Tennent’s Lager - best seller in Edinburgh.

  5. Sean M. Diamond

    I'm surprised that DALPA didn't negotiate some sort of diplomatic immunity for its members as part of its latest contract. They seem to have asked for pretty much everything else.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      DALPA could make the test inadmissible as we speak.
      We only know so far.

  6. Dan Guest

    The EASA's SAFA program allows for preflight alcohol testing of all crewmembers

  7. Scottman Guest

    Semantics, but it's under .04% for pilots.

  8. AA Crew Guest

    Crew security in the UK can be brutal, even on a good day. They will tear apart your suitcase looking for liquids, and if they even think you had a drink the night before they will pull you for a breathalyzer.

    Veteran crew know this, but with lots of new wide body FO’s this type of thing will be prevalent. Breath mints before you get to security, even when you’re unquestionably sober.

    1. jetjock64 Guest

      Breath mints a good idea, but NOT gargling with an alcohol breath freshener. Many have been caught by security checkers alerting on alcohol breath as pilots walk throught security. The problem is the standard, i.e., 0.02%, which can be busted by going the alcohol breath freshener route before going to the airport--my impression only. I can fly and drive with no degradation in motor skills and cognition--my belief--after a couple of drinks the night before...

      Breath mints a good idea, but NOT gargling with an alcohol breath freshener. Many have been caught by security checkers alerting on alcohol breath as pilots walk throught security. The problem is the standard, i.e., 0.02%, which can be busted by going the alcohol breath freshener route before going to the airport--my impression only. I can fly and drive with no degradation in motor skills and cognition--my belief--after a couple of drinks the night before plus a 12-hour interval, which is usually available. I feel the the regulators have gone amok by imposing this standard.

  9. Da Guest

    Alcoholism is very prevalent in the airline industry. I hope he can get the help he needs

    1. Cappy Bligh Guest

      Winner of the most inane, unsubstantiated post of the day award!

      Bloviate much?

  10. Engel Member

    "...operated by a 25-year-old Boeing 767-300ER with the registration code N196DN".

    The upshot for the would be passengers is that they didn't have to suffer on yet another Delta old plane".

    1. Marianne Guest

      Actually, the hour and half spent sitting on the plane waiting was fine. I would have been fine on that nonstop to NY even in the middle seat. The suffering was everything that followed in the three days it took to reach our destination.

  11. S Gold

    Fitting that the most recent incidents are out of Scotland lol

  12. Stac Guest

    Woooow, nw why wasn't this on the news?? Had it been some bdy ese, ohhh it definately woould hv been plastered all ovr the news outllets... Along with the worst mug shot frm whn he/she was a kid. Thats to try an embarrass the the blk, n brown ppl, the blk, n brow community.

  13. Eskimo Guest

    According to Tim Dunn, Delta is so great, probably why it can even attracts "AA" pilots.

    1. Erikoj Guest

      Eskimo - you’re so dumb. It was so predictable that as soon as the word “Delta” showed up in this post that you would be going after Tim.

      Tim is a guy that actually has a deep knowledge of the industry and Delta in particular, and who most OMAAT readers learn a lot from.

      What do you contribute? Nothing but petty sarcasm that wastes all our time

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Thank you.
      Some people cannot deal w the truth and turn every conversation into a discussion of me even before I participate. Gary ended this stuff and Ben needs to do the same.
      Anyone can remember that the same thing happened at the same airport to a United crew member.
      In both cases, help is available and both people should be given the chance to recover. Until they do, sitting on the sidelines is the best place for everyone

    3. Kimberley Evans Guest

      I wholeheartedly agree…EAP is a good place to start…

    4. Eskimo Guest

      @Erikoj

      Got you to read, LOL.

      People who have deep knowledge can also attest to the fluff of Tim Dunn. Not all of what Tim said is really fluff (credits due), still lots of fluff there (pants on fire).
      But people still believe in propagandas (or politicians), there isn't much I can do.

      And here's the truth, according to Tim Dunn, Delta is so great. Got you to read again, LOL.
      We love him so much, that we know he will participate on any Delta posts.

    5. Tim Dunn Diamond

      You just can’t help yourself can you? It’s all about you. Whatever it takes to keep you in the spotlight is all that matters.
      I so love living rent free in your head

      It’s summer. Get outside and thaw your frozen brain and personality

    6. Megadon Guest

      Timmy Timmy Timmy,

      “I so love living rent free in your head”

      That’s your all time favorite, come up with something new! You know these guys have fun screwing with you precisely because the opposite is true! Actually Eskimo’s last little snarky post was almost gracious towards you!

    7. Eskimo Guest

      @Tim Dunn

      Unfortunately you are living rent free in many of our heads, I'm sure it's not just me.
      Just like the annoying Kars4Kids (which failed to disclose it benefits only a specific group of kids not every kid is eligible, but that topic is for another day).
      You can't get rid of this annoying jingle easily. It get's worse when Tim's fluff thaws even more bs.

      P.S. This is for @ErikOJ, I...

      @Tim Dunn

      Unfortunately you are living rent free in many of our heads, I'm sure it's not just me.
      Just like the annoying Kars4Kids (which failed to disclose it benefits only a specific group of kids not every kid is eligible, but that topic is for another day).
      You can't get rid of this annoying jingle easily. It get's worse when Tim's fluff thaws even more bs.

      P.S. This is for @ErikOJ, I never claim to have “deep knowledge of this industry” but I got you to read again, LOL. And I can see lots of fluff from a mile away.

    8. Tim Dunn Diamond

      when you and/or your other user names bring my name into conversations before I even post a word, you are obsessed with me. Whether I say that you live rent free in my head or not only highlights your obsession.

      In case you missed it, the vast majority of people that read airline blogs could care less about the petty and childish emotional problems that some people have and which come out on social media....

      when you and/or your other user names bring my name into conversations before I even post a word, you are obsessed with me. Whether I say that you live rent free in my head or not only highlights your obsession.

      In case you missed it, the vast majority of people that read airline blogs could care less about the petty and childish emotional problems that some people have and which come out on social media. They come here for the content and the contributions of other participants.
      As has been noted by multiple people, you and others contribute nothing to the discussion while you fixate on me or any other user

      The Delta pilot or any other aviation professional isn't the problem. it is you!

      Grow up and get help if you can't accept that other people have ideas that you should be able to rationally deal with and respond to.

      Until you figure out that you and your snowflake personality are the problem and it is you that needs help, you will continue to get lambasted.

    9. ErikOJ Guest

      Eskimo,

      Do you have anything useful to add to this article? Are you claiming to have “deep knowledge of this industry”?

    10. David Guest

      How cute. His mom checking in.

    11. Erik OJ Guest

      “His mom checking in”?

      What are you - 12 years old?

      You guys are just useless wastes of time. You don’t contribute anything to these discussions. Good grief

      I do agree that there should be a modicum of moderation in these comment sections, to eliminate vapid empty comments like Eskimo and “David” (probably the same guy)

    12. Eskimo Guest

      @Erik OJ

      I can assure you Eskimo is not David. I have no reason to hide behind a common name used by many people posting here, like John. If you can't come up with a unique self made name on a blog, I envy you. You have a simple mind to live a simple life in this chaotic world filled with deception and lies.

      By the way, did you make up your mind yet if...

      @Erik OJ

      I can assure you Eskimo is not David. I have no reason to hide behind a common name used by many people posting here, like John. If you can't come up with a unique self made name on a blog, I envy you. You have a simple mind to live a simple life in this chaotic world filled with deception and lies.

      By the way, did you make up your mind yet if you're going to be Erikoj, ErikOJ, or Erik OJ?
      Probably the same guy, but apologies if you're actually 3 different trolls, I didn't see that coming.

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Erikoj Guest

Eskimo - you’re so dumb. It was so predictable that as soon as the word “Delta” showed up in this post that you would be going after Tim. Tim is a guy that actually has a deep knowledge of the industry and Delta in particular, and who most OMAAT readers learn a lot from. What do you contribute? Nothing but petty sarcasm that wastes all our time

8
henare Diamond

It's ok to write in Engish here.

3
AA Crew Guest

Crew security in the UK can be brutal, even on a good day. They will tear apart your suitcase looking for liquids, and if they even think you had a drink the night before they will pull you for a breathalyzer. Veteran crew know this, but with lots of new wide body FO’s this type of thing will be prevalent. Breath mints before you get to security, even when you’re unquestionably sober.

3
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