Russian Passengers Reject Drunk Pilot

Slurred speech sparked fear; airline blames 'mass psychosis'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 3, 2009 2:01 PM CST
This computer image provided by Airbus Wednesday, June 20, 2007 shows an A350 bearing the colors of Aeroflot.    (AP Photo/Airbus, Fixion)
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(Newser) – Passengers on a Russian jet mutinied right before takeoff when they heard the slurred speech of their obviously inebriated pilot, the Times of London reports. They insisted on a replacement, despite flight attendants' initial efforts to brush them off, with one noting that drunkenness was no “big deal” on a plane that almost flies itself.

When the crew on the Moscow-New York flight couldn’t quell the revolt, the pilot finally showed himself in the cabin, his bloodshot eyes inspiring no more confidence. “At first, he was looking at us like we were crazy. When we wouldn't back down, he said 'I'll sit here quietly in a corner. We have three more pilots,’” said a passenger. But a prominent TV host happened to be on board, and she insisted all the pilots be replaced. A rep for the Aeroflot airline said blood tests vindicated the pilot; she cited “mass psychosis” in the incident.