Flight attendant fined for being over alcohol limit

A flight attendant who reported for duty at Heathrow Airport while over the alcohol limit has been fined.

Cynthia Struble turned up for work wearing her American Airlines uniform when she was stopped airside at bag search by a security officer.

The official said they could “definitely smell alcohol” coming from her and that “it was very strong”, Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court heard.

US citizen Struble was among American Airlines cabin crew who were going through a bag search before a flight from London to Dallas on 28 December last year at about 9.30am.

When her bag was rejected at the X-ray machine screening, the security officer spoke to her and could smell alcohol.

Struble was asked “to provide a breath test and she provided a positive breath test”, prosecutor Cheiran Mondal said.

Police were called and Struble was taken to a station where a blood test was carried out.

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Mr Mondal told the court: “The result came back in a toxicology report. This confirmed 93 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood – the legal limit being 20.”

Struble, 64, of Dallas, Texas, had pleaded not guilty to being over the prescribed limit but was not in court for the trial as she was excused from attending at a previous hearing.

She was charged with being a member of cabin crew reporting for duty and performing an ancillary function for a scheduled flight after having consumed so much alcohol that the proportion of it in 100 millilitres exceeded the prescribed limit.

In a statement read out in court, security officer Angela Klaire said: “I started to engage in conversation with her and as she was talking I could smell alcohol strongly.

“I talked to her more and definitely could smell alcohol. It was very strong.”

She was asked to sit down so the security officer could radio her manager.

The court heard Struble went ahead to the coach towards the gate and PC Anthony Elsmere, who was on security patrol, managed to catch up with her at the gate bridge.

The officer said in a statement read out in court: “I could clearly smell alcohol emanating from Struble.

“She was able to converse and had no other signs of being under the influence.”

Chair of the magistrates’ bench Philip Newton said Struble was in uniform, had passed through security with colleagues and there was no doubt that the police had arrested the right member of the cabin crew.

Mr Newton said: “We are satisfied so that we are sure the defendant was performing an activity which was preparing to perform her aviation function and which shall be treated as an ancillary activity to it.

“The bench are sure that Ms Struble was the same person at security and who was arrested.

“We are sure the person was the same person reporting for duty.”

Struble was ordered to pay a total of £1,046, including a £660 fine, £66 victim surcharge and £320 costs.

Source: SKY NEWS

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