Delta Captain Pleaded Guilty to Showing Up Drunk for A Flight

by Anthony Losanno

Advertiser Disclosure: The Bulkhead Seat earns an affiliate commission for anyone approved through the links below. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. We work to provide the best publicly available offers to our readers. We frequently update them, but this site does not include all available offers.

A Delta Air Lines captain pleaded guilty to reporting for duty while intoxicated. Two bottles of Jägermeister were discovered in his luggage and he was stopped before he could pilot the Boeing 767.

Lawrence Russell, 63, was searched by airport security officers last June 16th. They discovered the bottles of alcohol in his bags (one of which was half full). He failed a breathalyzer test and was arrested before the flight from Edinburgh Airport (EDI) to New York John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Delta Pilot

A subsequent blood test found that Russell was more than double the legal alcohol limit. The Sun reported that Russell’s sample was at least 49mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The UK’s legal limit for pilots is 20mg per 100ml. His attorney provided the court with medical reports saying that Russell was undergoing treatment for alcoholism. Russell was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced later this month.

Business Insider got a statement from Delta. It reads:

Delta does not comment on ongoing legal cases. Delta’s alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation.”

United Plane

Surprisingly, this is not the only recent incident with an intoxicated pilot. Back in July, I wrote about a United Airlines captain who showed up to fly from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) on a Boeing 777-200. The 63-year-old captain was reported way above the legal alcohol limit. He was supposedly “showing signs of obvious drunkenness” and “he was staggering slightly, his eyes were glassy, and his mouth pasty.” He was subjected to two blood alcohol tests. These resulted in his blood alcohol level being recorded at 0.056 and 0.059. French law limits pilots blood alcohol level to 0.02 (in the US, the limit is 0.04 for pilots). The pilot was nearly 3x over the legal limit in France.

Anthony’s Take: It’s bad when passengers get intoxicated before boarding a flight, but it’s 1,000 times worse when it’s the captain set to fly the plane. Thankfully, he was stopped before anything happened. I hope he gets the help he needs.

(Image Credit: x--reflexnaja, Alexander Lawrie and United Airlines.)

User Generated Content Disclosure: The Bulkhead Seat encourages constructive discussions, comments, and questions. Responses are not provided by or commissioned by any bank advertisers. These responses have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the responsibility of the bank advertiser to respond to comments.

Leave a Comment

Related Articles