Police: Grand Forks-Minneapolis flight canceled because flight attendant was drunkA flight attendant, whose recent removal from a Delta commuter jet scheduled to fly from Grand Forks to the Twin Cities forced the flight's cancellation, was so drunk that she repeatedly failed to recite the alphabet on command and could not spell her own name, according to police.
By: Paul Walsh, Minneapolis Star Tribune / MCT
A flight attendant, whose recent removal from a Delta commuter jet scheduled to fly from Grand Forks to the Twin Cities forced the flight's cancellation, was so drunk that she repeatedly failed to recite the alphabet on command and could not spell her own name, according to police.
A preliminary breath test given by police Sunday, the day that the flight was scrubbed, showed that the 51-year-old Coon Rapids, Minn., woman had a blood-alcohol content of 0.186, more than twice the legal limit for driving. Despite the result, according to a police report, she denied having been drinking.
Delta Connection Flight 3743, operated by Pinnacle Airlines, was scheduled to depart shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday.
The flight attendant was "relieved of duty (without pay) pending further investigation" by the airline and the Federal Aviation Administration, said Pinnacle spokesman Joe Williams. He declined to comment on the specifics released by police, who did not arrest the woman.
Telephone and Facebook messages were left for the woman seeking comment about the police account.
According to the police report:
A nurse practitioner on a Pinnacle flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Grand Forks notified the pilots that the flight attendant was intoxicated. A police officer arrived at the plane and met with the flight attendant.
She had difficulty speaking but denied having been drinking even though she was swaying while standing.
The officer could smell "a moderate odor" of alcohol on the woman's breath. She failed numerous field sobriety tests. When asked to spell her name, she left two letters out of her last name and was mumbling and slurring.
During her alphabet tests, she did fine the first time until about halfway in. During her third futile try at the test, she started singing the letters before the officer could complete the instructions.
At one point, she wanted to "speak off the record" with a second officer on the case and volunteered that she had eight children.
An officer's inspection of the plane turned up three empty 50-milliliter (1.7-ounce) bottles of vodka in a trash bin. Flight records showed no alcohol being served on the flight to Grand Forks.