Ex-Alaska Pilot Sentenced to Prison After Admitting to Flying Drunk

Jul 26, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A former pilot for Alaska Airlines has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison and fined $10,000 as of yesterday after flying while intoxicated back in 2014.

David Hans Arntson had been a captain for Alaska for more than 20 years before a random drug test on June 20, 2014, unveiled a serious danger to Alaska Airlines passengers: Arntson’s blood alcohol concentration was at 0.134 percent and 0.142 percent after piloting two flights. That’s almost three times the legal limit for pilots.

The two flights Arntson piloted were on Boeing 737s with about 240 passengers altogether. His first flight was from San Diego to Portland, and the next was from Portland to Santa Ana, where he was randomly drug tested. “The technician [who conducted the test] alerted the airline,” reported KTLA, “which took off Arnston from safety-sensitive duties.”

After the incident, Arntson retired, and the FAA revoked his permit to pilot a plane, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

Arntson pleaded guilty to a felony charge, facing up to 15 years in prison. However, he was sentenced with just one year and one day in prison, as well as a $10,000 fine.

The catch was, in a way, a victory and a failure, potentially coming 20 years too late. As iterated by US Attorney Nicola T. Hanna, “this defendant was at the controls during hundreds of flights carrying innumerable passengers – undoubtedly under the influence of alcohol during many of those trips.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first incident of drunkenness in the cockpit. Just last month, a BA pilot pleaded guilty to also being over the alcohol limit for pilots while in the cockpit.

Plus, TPG is seeing greater precautions being taken to ensure the stability of plane crew. Yesterday, the European Union released plans to tighten mental health assessments for pilots and crew in response to the intentional Germanwings crash that took the lives of 144 passengers and six crew members.

*This post has been updated to reflect that there were a total of 240 passengers, not per plane.

Featured image by 400tmax / Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.