British Airways Pilot Who Had Three Double Vodkas Before Flight Jailed For Eight Months

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British Airways pilot who got caught trying to work under influence on a flight from London Gatwick to Mauritius was today jailed for eight months.


Pilot had had some wine on a flight from South Africa the night before (as a passenger) and then three double vodkas with Pepsi during the day while trying to get some sleep before the night flight. He ended up being four times over the legal limit for a pilot.

Here’s an excerpt from the BBC (access their piece here):

He had 86mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system in January – the legal limit for a pilot is 20mg.

Monaghan, 49, admitted being over the prescribed limit and was jailed for eight months at Lewes Crown Court.

On arrest, Monaghan, from South Africa, told police he drank a glass of wine on his overnight flight as a passenger from Cape Town to Heathrow.

He said he consumed “a measure” of vodka with diet Pepsi in his hotel room on an empty stomach and barely slept before he was due on board the long-haul flight to Mauritius.

The court heard Monaghan had since remembered drinking three miniature bottles of vodka.

He insisted he obeyed the airline’s eight-hour “bottle to throttle rule”, which forbids pilots from drinking for that amount of time before going on duty.


The legal limit for pilots is really low. The “eight-hour bottle to throttle rule” doesn’t mean that the pilot can be slamming down several double vodkas nine hours before the flight and be within the limit by the reporting time at the airport.

The pilot was apparently commuting from his another home in South Africa to work on a flight from London to Mauritius. These long commutes are problem too because pilots are supposed to be well rested when they begin their shift.