Story by: James Wandhand
In response to recent events in Scotland, United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) has decided to implement new flight deck protocols. Beginning January 1, 2017, the company will install breathalyzers throughout the entire fleet. “Alcohol related incidents are at an all time high, and we need to do something about it.”, said airline spokesperson Charlotte Blackwood. Currently there is no company policy on verifying if a Captain or First Officer is intoxicated. United pilot, Tom Kazansky spoke to us under the condition of anonymity; “The days of just tossing the keys to the F.O. if you were a little too buzzed, are over. These new execs aren’t joking around. Most of them don’t have any aviation experience. They just don’t get that we work hard, and we play hard too”. Earlier this month breathalyzers were installed in a few aircraft, to test the effects they would have on aircrews. Capt. Kazansky elaborated on the test; “At first all of us were pretty pissed off that we had to use those stupid things. It really made us feel like criminals. Once we realized that there were work arounds, everyone chilled out”. Ms. Blackwood confirmed that after review of the test phase data, no pilot blew over a .01 while attempting to start the engines. Melanie Mason, the lead flight attendant for United, revealed a new, and possibly more dangerous result of the new equipment; “I was seating the passengers on a flight from Tampa to Atlanta, when the Captain hollered from the cockpit ‘Hey Mel, get in here and blow for me, would ya.’ I ran to the flight deck as fast as I could, and was surprised when he wanted me to start the plane for him”. Aviation experts warn, that the breathalyzers, although a good first step, won’t prevent a recurrence of the Scotland incident. “Anyone can blow for anyone. It’s friggin great”, said Capt. Kazansky. Ms. Blackwood said that the company didn’t rule out use of retinal scanners in conjunction with the breathalyzers. The company hopes to have all the equipment installed by the end of January, 2017.