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A LIAT flight from Barbados to St. Vincent was cancelled Tuesday night after passengers accused the pilot of smelling of alcohol.

Passengers had boarded the already-delayed flight when the allegation was made sometime after 10 p.m., a passenger told iWitness News.

“When we were already on the plane, a passenger made an accusation. She said she smelled alcohol on the pilot. The pilot had just passed in the aisle and she said she smelled alcohol on the pilot. And then, the other passengers were like, ‘Yes. We smell alcohol,’” the passenger who spoke to iWitness News said.

The traveller said other passengers then said that that they were not going to travel on a plane where the pilot might have been drinking.

“So she (the passenger) then asked for the pilot to take a breath test. He, of course, refused, and he said if we don’t feel safe travelling with him, he was going to cancel the flight. He, at that point, walked off the plane and went outside,” iWitness News was told.

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“The other pilot kept saying that the guy was not drinking alcohol for the day. The lady (passenger) then said she has kids and she has a husband and if he (the pilot) has not been drinking then prove it; let him take a breath test because she smelled alcohol on him when he passed in the aisle.”

Other passengers said they smelled alcohol when the pilot walked through the aisle.

“At this point, the guy  (the other pilot) began speaking rudely to the passenger telling her to stop being stupid and if she is stupid and if it’s the first time she was travelling and all those things intended to make the person feel small.

“Then, it is only at that point that they said when he (the pilot) passed he was using a wet wipe. He said that is what the pilot was using when he passed in the aisle and that is what everyone was smelling. So he asked for one and told her to smell it. She said she was not smelling it because she asked for a breath test,” the passenger told iWitness News.

Another passenger said it was very rude of the co-pilot to ask her to smell it because he opened the pack and put the tissue in her face, we were told.

“The passenger said that’s very rude because we are customers, we are paying; she has a right to talk and if she doesn’t feel comfortable then she has a right to say something…

“At that point, everyone started making noise. The lady then apologised. She said well, if the pilot was not drinking, then the flight should depart.

However, the captain said the pilot said he is not flying the plane.

He, at that point, was already outside, so the flight was cancelled.

The LIAT manager, after all of this happened, she came on the flight and she removed the passenger.

But before she removed the passenger she asked why would she make an accusation like that. The lady said she smelled alcohol.

The passengers were flown to St. Vincent on Wednesday after spending Tuesday night in Barbados.

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2 replies on “Passenger accuses LIAT pilot of smelling of alcohol; flight cancelled”

  1. The Chairman of LIALPA himself advised me that the pilot subsequently went directly to the Police in Barbados to be tested, but they did not have any of the appropriate the equipment so he immediately went to a private lab and voluntarily did urine and blood tests. Both were negative.

    As the pilot originally claimed, the smell was actually from the alcohol on the “wet-wipe” he had just used – it was still on his hands.

    In this case the passenger put 2 and 2 together and got 2,384,375.

    There was no valid reaon for the pilot to be rude, but after he had explained himself nor was there valid reason for the passenger to continue expounding about a drunk pilot.

    IMHO the correct action was taken – for him to continue the flight would have resulted in possible termination, since by the time the airline could impose a urine and blood test there would have been no evidence. And it is unreasonable to expect a professional to spend the rest of his career with unproven allegations in his record.

    The delay or cancellation was due to a passenger – the pilots cannot be blamed, just as they cannot be blamed all of the other times management is looking for a reason to dilute their incompetence.

    With few exceptions – being human nature – LIALPA Members – LIAT pilots – are professionals with high standards and better-than-average skills who work long and hard adhering to the appropriate laws, regulations and their contract.

    With few exceptions, when the pilots are blamed for something it can usually be traced directly back to the incompetence of the Board and management.

  2. Liat is a good example proving that you DO NOT get what you pay for. Liat may be the world’s most expensive airline; it may be one of the world’s most unreliable airlines but they do have a superior safety record.

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