A flight attendant was arrested and fired after passengers said she was drunk and barely able to stand or speak during a brief trip from Chicago to Indiana, officials said.
Juliann March, a 49-year-old resident of Waukesha, Wisconsin, was arrested on Aug. 2 when her Air Wisconsin flight from Chicago landed in South Bend, according to the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office.
“Ultimately Ms. March did consent to a portable breath test at the jail which resulted in a reading of .204,” according to a criminal complaint. March told police she consumed two vodka shooters before going to work that morning, prosecutors said.
She’s been charged with misdemeanor public intoxication.
The flight attendant “involved in this incident is no longer employed by Air Wisconsin,” according to a statement by the regional outfit that’s affiliated with United Airlines and United Express.
“We will continue to cooperate with local authorities and assist them as necessary. “
Passenger Aaron Scherb was among the first people to alert the airline, tweeting, “our flight attendant appears to be quite drunk on this flight from ORD to SBN. She is slurring her speech (she couldn’t make it through the security announcement), couldn’t walk straight/was bumping into everyone in the aisle, and kept dropping things.”
In a statement later, Scherb said he sympathized with the flight attendant and hoped the airline would get her help.
“I would hope that United Airlines and Air Wisconsin (which operated the flight for United Express) treat this person as an employee, not as an expendable commodity, and that they will help her get treatment for addiction, if that’s in fact what she suffers from,” Scherb said in a statement to NBC News on Thursday.
It wasn’t clear if March had hired an attorney yet. She could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Just this past weekend, two United Airlines pilots were arrested in Scotland for drinking before taking control of the aircraft they were supposed to fly to the United States, officials said.
After the two men, aged 61 and 45, were arrested, United Airlines was forced to cancel Flight 162, the 9 a.m. flight traveling from Glasgow to Newark, New Jersey.