Ex-Alaska Pilot Sentenced to Prison After Admitting to Flying Drunk
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.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.