AirTran is currently investigating a pilot suspected of being legally intoxicated before his Saturday flight.
The pilot, who was flying out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, was arrested and removed from his flight to Milwaukee.
The flight was delayed 35 minutes, but later resumed with a replacement pilot.
A TSA manager at Minneapolis-St. Paul was the first to suspect that the pilot was intoxicated. According to an airport spokesperson, a TSA manager smelled alcohol on the captain and alerted airport police.
A Breathalyzer test revealed the captain’s blood alcohol level was 0.05 percent, hovering just above the 0.04 percent limit for commercial pilots.
In the United States, 0.08 percent is the legal limit for driving in most states.
Also alarming, the pilot was a Federal Flight Deck Officer authorized to carry a firearm on the plane.
AirTran says it was not aware whether or not the pilot was armed for Saturday’s flight.
The captain has been suspended by the airline, pending an investigation.
Instances with inebriated pilots are serious but uncommon in the United States.
Earlier this year, a Delta pilot was sentenced to six months in prison for showing up to work with a blood alcohol level 4.5 times over the legal commercial pilot limit.
In March, Mexican airline Aeromexico suspended four pilots for flying under the influence.
If you’re ever in a situation where you suspect your pilot is drunk, check out our guide on how to react to dangerous air travel scenarios: Revolt On A Plane: If Your Pilot Is Drunk, Plus Other Dangerous Air Travel Scenarios.
By Adriana Padilla at PeterGreenberg.com.
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