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Thu, Aug 05, 2010

Woman Shows Concern About Pilot, Is Removed From The Plane

She Says She And Others Thought They Smelled Alcohol On His Breath

A woman from southern California boarding a Delta flight in Georgia July 19th said she was removed from the flight after reporting she thought she and others smelled alcohol on the captain's breath.

The flight from Atlanta was delayed for more than an hour, and 51-year-old Cynthia Angel told MSNBC that she and three other passengers had a quick chat in the jetway with one of the pilots on her flight whom she later found out was the captain. "Boy, you had been here a long time," Angel said she jokingly remarked to the pilot.

The captain spoke briefly to Angel and three others in the jetway, after which she said a man standing behind her asked "Did anyone smell that? It smelled a little like Vodka."

Angel volunteered to speak to the head flight attendant, and was later called into the cockpit for a conference with another pilot. Angel was assured by that pilot that the captain had not been drinking, and that he had been with the person in question for several hours.

Satisfied, Angel returned to her seat on the plane, but 20 minutes later, she was asked by a Delta manager to collect her belongings and accompany him back to the terminal, where she was told that the captain had taken "a test" to prove he had not been drinking. Again, Angel said she thought the incident was closed.

But then, Angel says she was informed that the captain and his crew did not want her on the flight. She was given hotel and meal vouchers, and re-booked on a flight the next day back to Los Angeles.

Attorneys are now involved. Angel's lawyer Mark Silverman said he contacted Delta asking for an explanation. He told MSNBC that she was "just trying to be a good citizen," and that Delta should appreciate her concern.

A former United Airlines captain told the network that, while Angel did the right thing speaking up, Delta was also right in asking her to leave the plane. He said flights are often delayed or cancelled because, if he or she is so accused, a pilot will often take themselves off the flight and force the airline to find a replacement. Ross Aimer, CEO of Aviation Experts said Angel "had to go" because the crew and the airline had "hundreds of other passengers to think about."

FMI: www.delta.com

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