JetBlue Pilot Taken Off Flight And Arrested After Blowing .17

JetBlue flight 2465 from Buffalo to Fort Lauderdale was delayed four hours on Wednesday morning when the aircraft’s co-pilot was flagged as possibly impaired as he went through the security checkpoint.

Police were called and the man was taken off the plane and given a breathalyzer test. He registered a blood alcohol content of .17. Twelve hours bottle-to-throttle* notwithstanding, .04 is deemed to be intoxicated for a pilot. That’s half the legal limit compared to driving a vehicle. The only thing you’re prepared to drive at .17 is the porcelain bus.

The co-pilot “was seen walking on the tarmac and placed in a patrol car” and then “released to JetBlue security.” He’ll presumably face federal charges.

JetBlue’s priority of course is safety. This pilot’s priority may have been getting so tanked he thought he was Gary Busey trying to explain who really killed Bruce Lee.

Pilots with an alcohol dependency may be wary of speaking up and seeking help, for fear of being sidelined, despite programs designed to encourage them to do so. Pilots hide not just alcohol abuse but mental health conditions and that points to a fundamental conundrum: you want pilots to be open and seek help in order to promote safety, but once they’re open they’re a clearly identified risk and get removed from the cockpit. So the consequences of being open discourage that openness. Or at least that’s the fear many pilots have, not trusting any commitments to help rather than punish. And though incidents like this are rare, that’s a problem.

* The FAA rule remains 8 hours, but recommends 24. Many airlines have moved to 12.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Breathe Free As long as he is fully vaccinated with ten thousand shots, we’re all safe!!!!!!!

  2. @ Breathe Free. Good point. I guarantee at a .17 no virus is surviving the short flight in his body. 🙂

  3. well that explains why JBLU’s delay ratio is 14% day when every other airline is at low single digit delay rates. Although they operated this flight 4 hours late, they still have cancelled more flights than any other US airline today.
    According to the DOT, JBLU’s on-time for all of 2021 was 9th out of 10 carriers and 16 points lower than the highest rated mainland airline, Delta.

  4. Parker American Airlines CEO has 3 DWI”s and continued as CEO for years. No big deal!

  5. Truly stupid comments here today, even for trump deplorables standards.

  6. I’m most interested in the comment that he was released to “JetBlue security.” What sort of security would JetBlue or any carrier have at BUF besides the GSC position? Would he be released to the B6 BUF GSC? How could JetBlue’s actual corporate security team get to BUF so quickly unless he was released several hours after the incident which I suppose is possible. I suppose they could have flown up from JFK and been there in a few hours…

  7. But did he have a mask on. Sorry I couldn’t help it. Maybe he was a Biden voter that watched the SOTU speech.. I guess what happens in Buffalo doesn’t stay in Buffalo. Glad they caught him Reminds me of the movie Flight with Denzel Washington.

  8. Porcelain bus?
    Gary Busey?
    Great jokes Gary!
    Didn’t know you had it in you!

  9. @Gary – good article. Beyond the first joke, it’s sad to see so many followup comments about masks — and even one throwing in Trump.

  10. Yes, the originality of the commenters is really evident by the same boring jokes ripped straight off boomer memes. Bet there’s a few “Let’s go Brandon” (yawn) posts waiting in the queue.

  11. After blowing a 0.17 before takeoff, I think this possibly impaired Jet Blue pilot should not pick up his car from the employee parking lot and drive to a pilot’s crash pad to sleep off a hangover. Because the mantra at Jet Blue is “Safety First,” this pilot should consider calling an Uber. I wonder if Jet Blue pilots have learned that they can avoid hangovers by staying drunk from their college drinking buddies.

    But wait, there’s more. Allegedly intoxicated Jet Blue pilots with an American Express Platinum Card®, receive $15 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats or rides with Uber in the US every month plus a bonus of $20 in December, delivered through an exclusive Uber app experience. That’s up to $200 for orders with Uber Eats or rides with Uber annually. Pilots will become an Uber VIP, where available, without meeting minimum ride requirements and be matched with top-rated drivers so that even a 5-minute trip can be a 5-star experience.

  12. Here’s where my mind went — What did the co-pilot know and when did the co-pilot know it? Perhaps the drunk pilot had just gotten onto the plane when the consequences came down via the TSA agent calling authorities, but if there were tens of minutes before that happened when the pilot and co-pilot were together and speaking in a small space, had the co-pilot figured it out? What is the culture of blowing the whistle on an impaired/unsafe colleague in this or any context?

  13. SadStateofOurCountry So true. They must have let loose a whole busload of trumpers.

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