United Airlines has tightened its preflight alcohol-use policy for flight crews a week after two of its pilots were arrested in Scotland on suspicion of intoxication before a flight to Newark, New Jersey.
The airline now requires pilots and flight attendants to refrain from drinking alcohol at least 12 hours before they report to work, up from the eight hours required by Federal Aviation Administration regulations and United's previous requirement. The rules on blood alcohol content when reporting for duty did not change. Flight crews cannot report for work with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher, also a federal policy.
United's new 12 hour no-alcohol policy for pilots, first reported by Skift, took effect Aug. 10. Flight attendants will be subject to the same policy beginning Aug. 17, according to to a "safety alert'' sent to flight attendants Wednesday.
"This change is to help assure flight attendant compliance with standards established by the United States and individual states where United operates around the world,'' the memo says. "It is essential that flight attendants understand that minimum compliance with United’s policy does not assure compliance with (U.S.) Department of Transportation or individual state standards.''
The memo was nearly identical to the bulletin sent to pilots last week from Henry Canada, manager of flight operations manual.
"Countries outside the United States have differing policies which include a blood alcohol content of 0.00% and punishment criteria,'' the pilot bulletin says. "It is the sole personal responsibility of the pilot to report for duty as defined by the company, DOT/FAA or the governing country.''
The airline does not mention the Scotland incident in the memos about the new policy.
United's move also follows another high-profile incident involving an allegedly drunk flight crew member on a United flight. A flight attendant on a United Express flight from Chicago to South Bend, Indiana, last week was fired and charged with public intoxication following an Aug. 2 incident. The flight was operated by United affiliate Air Wisconsin.
American, Delta and Southwest said their alcohol-use policies for flight crews remain no alcohol for eight hours prior to reporting for work.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: United Airlines to flight crews: No drinking 12 hours before work