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Flight attendant turns up for work seven times over legal alcohol limit

Helen Coffey
No passengers or crew were hurt during the terrifying ordeal: istock

A flight attendant who was found to be almost seven times over the legal alcohol limit when she arrived for work has been fined £548 and ordered to pay £85 in costs.

Lemara Thompson, 27, pleaded guilty for being over the legal limit at Uxbridge Magistrates Court.

The Delta Air Lines cabin crew member, from Brooklyn, New York, failed a breathalyser test after she arrived at London Heathrow airport on 16 June smelling of alcohol.

She was then given further tests that revealed her blood alcohol level was 135mg per 100ml – the legal limit for aviation professionals is 20mg.

“She was almost seven times over the limit,” said prosecutor Shann Sethi.

Thompson’s defence said she had been drinking the night before rather than prior to the flight, and that this was “unusual for her”.

“’The defendant made, in her own words, a horrible mistake – she jeopardised everything she had worked so hard to achieve in life,” said Dan Martin, defending.

“She is extremely remorseful.”

He added: “She made a great error of judgment in attending work the next day.”

Thompson faced disciplinary proceedings for her actions but is still employed by Delta, said Martin.

A Delta spokesperson told The Independent: “In June, Delta cooperated with law enforcement in its investigation into a crew member who was removed from a flight prior to departure.

“We treat all reported allegations in contrast with our strict employee alcohol policy as serious.”


It’s not the first time a member of flight crew has been found to be over the limit.

In July, a pilot was arrested on suspicion of being drunk while onboard a full plane ready to take off.

The pilot, who also worked for Delta, was arrested at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport when officers smelt alcohol on his breath.

The plane was on the tarmac but had not yet left the gate.

Before boarding the flight, to San Diego, California, he was seen trying to leave a security line when he noticed extra screening taking place, according to Minnesota’s Star Tribune.

“Delta’s alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation,” the airline said in a statement.

“Delta is cooperating with local authorities in their investigation.”

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