A shochu-sipping stewardess at Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) has managed to delay four domestic flights from Fukuoka because she was over the legal alcohol limit.
According to The Japan Times, the flight attendant in her 20s was scheduled to board a flight from Fukuoka to Narita Airport on Friday 3 January morning, but she tested positive for alcohol during a pre-boarding inspection.
The airline was forced to switch crew members, which delayed four flights – three of which were heading to Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Those flights were delayed by up to 25 minutes.
Citing ANA, The Japan Times said that according to ANA regulations, cabin crew are prohibited from consuming alcohol 24 hours before a flight instead of 12 hours, which used to be the policy. The airline said the cabin attendant had been drinking the night before.
The mandatory alcohol test was carried out before flight NH2124 was scheduled to depart at 7:20am on January 3. The test showed the woman had 0.14 miligrams of alcohol per litre in her breath.
The flight attendant reportedly told ANA she had been drinking shochu, a popular Japanese distilled beverage, with a friend at a restaurant in Fukuoka on Thursday night. She apologised and regretted “being careless” for violating the airline’s regulations.
“The ANA Group takes incidents involving alcohol consumption by its employees extremely seriously. The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and concerns caused to our passengers,” an ANA spokesperson told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.
In August, a flight attendant on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to South Bend, Indiana was arrested, and later fired by by Air Wisconsin, which operates as a regional airline for United and United Express, for allegedly being drunk onboard, CNN reports.
The ANA spokesperson declined to comment on whether the airline would take any disciplinary action against its flight attendant who tested positive for alcohol, saying: “[W]e do not discuss personnel matters.”
Not only cabin crew, but pilots too have been caught under the influence. In November 2018, a pilot at ANA’s rival Japan Airlines was jailed for 10 months after he failed a breath test 50 minutes before the Japan Airlines (JAL) flight from Heathrow to Tokyo was due to fly with him in the cockpit, according to a BBC report.