Blood Alcohol Issues for Crew Members in the UK
Below you will find important information USAPA has sent to their members
concerning working crew members to the UK. This information brings notification
to their members that Security BAA Screeners may notify police of any
crewmember, pilot or flight attendant, they suspect of consuming alcohol. This
situation has been specific to departing flights. The information explains they
are not launching a proactive campaign but that this situation has occurred.
It is important to note that their beer and ale have a higher content of alcohol
than American brands and their strict blood alcohol limit is .02. Please see the
Your MEC Officers
British Blood Alcohol Issues for Crew Members
Last week we notified you about random alcohol screening for outbound
international crew members. Below is the briefing slides on Alcohol Information
for US Airways Crews traveling to the U.K. While there is no proactive effort to
"catch" crew members by BAA security screeners, they are required to report any
crew member suspected to be under the influence of alcohol. If police are
notified, they will request the suspect to take a breathalyzer test. Crew
members who refuse a legal request by the police for a breathalyzer test will be
Please take the time to review this important presentation.
British Blood Alcohol Issues and Answers
How British Laws affect you as a US Airways Crew member
25 March 2013
SECURITY COMMITTEE UK UPDATE
DO NOT engage in any
aviation function if you suspect you may be under the influence of alcohol
or drugs (in general, aviation functions start once you enter the secure
area of the airport, which is the security checkpoint where the crew bus
DO NOT allow any crewmember on your
flight to board an aircraft for duty if you suspect they are under the
influence of alcohol or drugs, as you could be prosecuted for this.
Alcohol legal limits in the U.K. are
twice as strict as those in the U.S.
The alcohol content of many British
beers and ale products is much higher than in American brands.
This combination places you at a much
higher risk, even if you think you are within the limit.
Standard drinking practices (such as
one beer per hour and the eight-hour rule) may not work in the U.K
BAC will vary for each person depending
on weight, sex and body fat.
A general guideline is as follows:
approximately one drink/can of beer or glass of wine = .02 to .05 BAC.
It will require approximately 1.5 to
three hours to metabolize this much alcohol to 0 BAC.
Remember, this is just a general guide.
- Alcohol Information for US Airways
Crews Traveling to the U.K.
- Recent events have brought attention to
the need for better education and understanding of British rules and
regulations pertaining to alcohol use, screening procedures and the rights
and responsibilities of our flight crews.
- This presentation is intended to
provide important information to pilots and flight attendants regarding the
use of alcohol when traveling to the U.K
- Flight crew members are governed by
multiple regulations in the United States, including (but not limited to)
FARs, DOT and US Airways company policy.
- Pilots and flight attendants should not
perform any aviation-related duties within twelve hours (13 if you count the
start of duty) after the consumption of alcohol.
- Be aware of the potential ramifications
and residual effects from drinking.
- In the UK, Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
must be less than .02 to avoid arrest .
- We are governed by the laws of the
U.K., the host nation, when visiting their country.
- British laws governing alcohol use by
aviation personnel are covered in the Railways and Transport Safety Act of
- These laws contain many similar
regulations to U.S. law; however, there are some important differences.
- Pilots and flight attendants are
subject to these strict standards.
- Legal alcohol limits (UK):
- Breath: 9 micrograms in 100 milliliters
- Blood: 20 milligrams in 100 milliliters
- Blood Alcohol Content by breath
- This is 1/2 the legal limit used in the
- "A person commits an offense if he
performs an aviation function at a time when his ability to perform the
function is inhibited because of drink or drugs."
- "Where a person sets out to perform an
aviation function, anything which he does by way of preparing to perform the
function shall be treated as an activity ancillary to it."
- A person found guilty of an offense
under British law shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term
not exceeding two years, to a fine, or to both.
- U.K. police are required to investigate
all credible reports of suspected alcohol abuse by crew members.
- USAPA/ AA / APA / APFA have all worked
with U.K. authorities to ensure proper protocols are followed in determining
legitimacy of reported abuse.
- U.K. police have full authority to
board aircraft in the course of an investigation.
- There is no proactive effort to "catch"
crew members by BAA security screeners.
- However, screeners are required to
report any crew member suspected to be under the influence of alcohol to
airport police. (The same as U.S. protocol.)
- Security screeners do not have the
authority to detain or test crew members.
- Since screeners can not detain
suspects, crew members may not be stopped at the security checkpoint and
could continue to the aircraft before being met by police.
- Once notified, police will request
suspect to take a breathalyzer test.
- Normally, tests will be conducted in a
separate closed area, not aboard the aircraft. However, police may make the
final determination of the test location.
- Note: If you refuse the test, you will
be arrested for "failure to submit to the lawful order of a police officer,"
which is a separate charge from the alcohol offense.
- If the suspect tests at or below the
legal limit, the investigation is over and the crew member will be released.
- If the suspect tests above the legal
limit, he or she will be arrested.
- After an arrest, the crew member will
be taken to a police/medical facility for advance breathalyzer, blood or
- The crew member may determine which
test will be used.
- Blood and urine tests will provide
split samples for the protection of the crew member.
- Once testing is complete, the crew
member may be released on his or her own recognizance, and ordered to appear
before a magistrate at a later date (pending the receipt of the blood/urine
- The crew member should expect to be
tested again upon return to the U.S., per company regulations.
- The accused is strongly advised to
retain legal counsel and return at pre-determined date for court appearance.
- Trial or summary judgment may occur
depending upon the circumstances.
- As in the U.S., suspects are considered
innocent until proven guilty.
- The accused has the right to an
attorney. He or she should request the presence of an attorney prior to
testing, but this can not be the basis of an unreasonable request to delay
- The accused has the right to due
- The accused has the right to any fluid
samples taken after the arrest.
- Crew members who refuse a legal request
by the police for a breathalyzer test will be arrested.
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