Delta pilot Gabriel Lyle Schroeder, 37, was arrested shortly before 11am local time at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport with a ‘strong smell of alcohol on his breath’ and an ‘undisclosed bottle of alcohol’ in his possession.
He reportedly left a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening line for crew members after noticing he would have to undergo more stringent testing, arousing suspicions.
Schroeder returned a short time later but TSA officers had already reported him to airport police who conducted not one but two sobriety tests. One test is alleged to have found that he was under the influence of alcohol; results of the second, a toxicology test, have yet to be disclosed.
The pilot was detained for roughly three hours before being released. Formal charges have yet to be filed against him pending the outcome of the toxicology tests which may take up to a week. Minnesota imposes a 0.04 percent blood-alcohol legal limit for pilots while the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) prohibits pilots from flying within eight hours of drinking, in a measure aimed at preventing so-called “bottle to throttle.”
“Delta’s alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation,” Delta spokeswoman Kate Modolo said in a statement. “Delta is cooperating with local authorities in their investigation.”
Meanwhile, the passengers on the fully-boarded plane, flying from Minneapolis to San Diego, were forced to disembark and were subsequently delayed for a short time while a replacement pilot was found.
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