Flight canceled over copilot’s indiscretion

by Minoru Matsutani

Japan Airlines Corp. was forced to cancel a flight from Hawaii to Narita airport last week because a copilot was detained by police for urinating in a public place, the airline said Monday.

The 53-year-old copilot was scheduled to work a flight leaving Honolulu at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday but did not show up at the airport in time, so the company had another copilot, who was scheduled to fly at 9:05 a.m. Thursday, replace him, JAL said. The company found out Wednesday night that Hawaii police had detained the copilot. He was not released until Thursday, and JAL had to cancel the Thursday flight, affecting 297 passengers.

The police refused to inform the airline why the copilot had been detained, saying they could only reveal the information to family members. The copilot underwent a brief trial, was fined $25 and released Thursday morning, JAL said.

The copilot told JAL he had drunk half a bottle of wine and two small bottles of beer at a restaurant near a hotel at around 5:30 p.m., followed by three small bottles of beer at a bar at the hotel at around 6:30 p.m., JAL said.

He then took a walk outside the hotel and urinated behind a tree at around 7:30 p.m., whereupon he was arrested.