A Delta Air Lines flight attendant has been hit with $700 for turning up for duty while drunk. The crew member boarded a flight at London Heathrow on June 16 while seven times over the legal limit.
The Daily Mail reports that last week, a panel of magistrates at Uxbridge handed Lemara Thompson the fine. She has also been ordered to pay an extra £85 ($112) in costs, bringing the charge to around $900.
Why the fine?
This penalty followed Thompson’s admission to being over the limit while boarding on her flight. The 27-year old was scrutinized by officers at the airport after reports of her smelling of alcohol.
Subsequently, the New Yorker failed a preliminary breath test. This was before later tests found that her blood alcohol level was 135mg per 100ml of blood. For comparison, the legal limit for performing duties in the air is 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Representing the prosecuting party in court, solicitor Shaan Sethi spoke of the incident that happened during the summer.
“Officers were called to a control post at Heathrow Airport to reports that the defendant, who is a member of Delta [Air Lines] cabin crew, had passed through a security arch smelling of alcohol,” Sethi said, as reported by The Daily Mail.
“She failed a preliminary breath test. A blood sample was taken and toxicology reports showed that she had 135mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.”
However, in defense of Thompson, legal representative Dan Martin said that she hadn’t been drinking the same day as the flight. He states that the defendant was still feeling the effects from the night before.
“The defendant made, in her own words, a horrible mistake – she jeopardized everything she had worked so hard to achieve in life,” Martin shared, according to the report.
“She is extremely remorseful. This wasn’t a case of her having drunk prior to the flight, she was drinking the night before, which is unusual for her.”
Martin concludes that Thompson made a huge error of judgment by attending her place of work the next day. Despite being penalized in court, the attendant has kept her job after going through Delta’s disciplinary proceedings.
The airline has said that it cooperated with officials in their investigation and it treats all allegations seriously, as per its strict employee alcohol policy.
There will no doubt be mixed opinions on the outcome of the incident. With an employee being so intoxicated while serving on a flight, there could have been a serious situation.
Simple Flying reached out to Delta for further comment on the incident involving the drunk flight attendant. We will update the article with any further announcements.
Do you think that the flight attendant’s penalty is fair? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.