United Express Flight Attendant Accused of Flying Drunk, Making Bizarre Announcement

A passenger from onboard United Express flight UA4689 from Denver to Williston, North Dakota posted a photo to twitter yesterday of a flight attendant that she said was “drunk and disorderly” on Thursday.

The Trans States operated Embraer ERJ-145 runs six days a week at 1:59 p.m. on the 1 hour 50 minute route.

Here’s the since-deleted Tweet:

And here’s her photo:

Reportedly “police and an ambulance were waiting for the plane when they landed Thursday afternoon.”

United says they apologize “for any inconvenience or distress this may have caused” and that it compensated the passengers as a ‘gesture of good will’.” Trans States which operated the flight as United Express “was aware of reports of erratic behavior by a flight attendant on the plane” and the employee won’t be flying while they investigate.

While rare there are plenty of reported incidents of drunk flight attendants such as on Alaska, on British Airways, and American Airlines. Though flight attendants are there ‘primarily for your safety’ and those sorts of duties are compromised if they’re under the influence, it doesn’t seem as bad as when air marshals show up drunk or when pilots are drunk.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Sure, it’s wrong to be under the influence of anything while performing one’s duty. But how do we know she was drunk? And the questions should be asked, did she interfere with the flight operation? Did she endanger self or others? Many people have mental illness, not taking their meds, fatigue, or other causes to have them act in a weird way. Shaming this lady in such public display is very sad.

    This is so wrong to snap this lady’s photo in such vulnerable state (I presume without her permission) and post it for the world to see. I call on @Gary to remove this photo immediately or better yet to delete this entire article.

    Thank you!

  2. On the job or not, drunk or not, this woman was clearly in an emotional state where she should have been able to take sick leave off work and it was wrong of the Twitter user to post her picture in such a vulnerable state like that. This is wrong use of making something “go viral.” Doesn’t solve anything and just embarrasses someone who needs help, not retribution. Disgusting.

  3. Hey, Kalboz……

    Most airlines, includingUnited Airlines, take this position:

    “The primary responsibility of the flight attendant is to maintain safe conditions in the airplane cabin, to teach passengers safety procedures and to assist passengers during emergency situations”

    I feel confident many, if not most, of us who fly a good part of our lives don’t wish to be traveling with impaired flight crews (flight deck or cabin members).

    As for the female pictured in this post, I’m sure there are plenty of advocacy groups that will jump to her defense.

  4. Agree with Kalboz and Ray. What evidence is there that she was drunk? If its mental illness, this is disgusting and her photo should be removed immediately.

  5. I haven’t the faintest idea what’s wrong with her, most likely pills, but she is not drunk.

  6. Oh all you crybabies. Does it really matter if she was drunk or somehow impaired to you? What about when there’s an emergency and she cannot perform her job? From the photo and the transcript, that’s all you have to go by, she’s clearly incapable of performing her job. I would not want to be on that flight. Would you?

    The action of snapping her pic might be seen negatively, but how else would anyone be able to see the situation? On one hand you want more surveillance to protect passengers from flight attendants power trips, on the other you want less surveillance to protect the flight attendants.

    So sick of these double standard snowflakes.

  7. @Dave that should have been recognized prior to the flight and prevented from boarding and not after the fact. Also, the fact that the flight made it to its destination without incident is telling. Other than injured dignity of the passenger which I am sure could be rectified.

    @Thanh, crybabies, snowflakes … really? Grow up!

  8. I absolutely agree with the above readers. We do not know the situation. Clearly there is a problem, but posting this gossip and photo of this woman is irresponsible to say the least.
    Gary…get back to writing items of substance, not just passing along all the unsubstantiated noise that you have been posting recently. It makes us doubt YOUR credibility. And BTW…the captain would not have called ahead for an ambulance for someone who was drunk.

  9. This could easily have been a medical event and not alcohol related. You’d have done better to try to see if she was ok or if she needed medical attention before snapping her picture and complaining to the pilot.

  10. Drunk or high? she came from Denver! Both are unacceptable, and it’s so scary how we are embracing pot as a country.

  11. As for the photo, it is a public place, so it is legal unless posted.

    She could have been high smoking a joint, it is legal,

    She could have had a reaction, to some pharma drugs.

    Employers need to get use to a smoking high, we have made it legal..

  12. Omg – diabetes? Pretty sure that disease doesn’t cause anyone to tell passengers they f’d up. Clearly she was drunk/high – something that impaired her judgment. So very tired of people making excuses. She’s the one that f’d up.

  13. Awwww, no video? In this day and age? Those passengers should be ashamed of themselves!

  14. @BILL : No, no, no, and no.
    Wrong on every count.

    A quadruple negative doesn’t make 2 rights, just 4 wrongs.

  15. @loingeabuser Are you claiming that @Bill is wrong about the statement “As for the photo, it is a public place, so it is legal”

    If so, it’s you that is wrong. In the US, if you have a right to be someplace, you have the right to photograph what you see there. It’s the “Freedom of the Press” enshrined in the first amendment to the constitution. There are some additional restrictions on what you can do with the photograph once you’ve taken it, but those certainly don’t apply in this case.

    I, for one, am glad that this individual took the photo and publicized this very newsworthy story.

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