A Japan Airlines flight out of Dallas, Texas was canceled after a pilot was found to have consumed too much alcohol before a flight to Tokyo.

According to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram and FlightAware, a 49-year-old pilot scheduled for Japan Airlines Flight 11 had gone out the night before a flight and drank with other crew members at a restaurant. The pilot, who has not been identified, continued to drink at the hotel bar and then later in his hotel room.

The report states that after hotel staff repeatedly tried to warn the pilot of his behavior, police were called to the hotel around 2 am to investigate a noise complaint. The pilot was not arrested and received a warning from police.

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Even though the pilot did not violate the airline's policy of drinking alcohol within 12 hours of a flight, as a precautionary measure, Japan Airlines canceled the flight citing "the need to assess the captain’s physical and mental well-being."

Japan Airlines helped the 157 passengers on Flight 11 transfer to other flights to Tokyo out of Dallas.

Drunk Airline Pilots

Though it is uncommon for a flight to be canceled because of a drunk pilot, you might be surprised to know how many times a pilot has been flagged for drinking on the job. According to the FAA, data shows that 99 of 117,000 American pilots tested for alcohol between 2010 and 2018 were over the legal limit.

Those numbers may seem low but any number that involves pilots drinking alcohol before flights is alarming.

I had a friend who took a job as a flight attendant for a company I will not name. She told me stories where they could smell alcohol on the pilots before flights and even partying with pilots hours before flights.

Whether or not those stories were actually true, I will never know. Still, any story that involves pilots getting hammered hours before a flight makes me a little uneasy to fly the friendly skies.


Last year the TSA screened more than 858 million people, which works out to 7.8 firearms found per million passengers. Despite the rise in firearms found, the rate they were found was a drop from the 8.6 found per million passengers in 2022.

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