Saturday, April 9, 2016

LOL: Drunk British Airways stewardess tries to cover up tracks by reading but turns book upside down


Newcastle JournalBritish Airways dismissed the air hostess following the incident


An air stewardess sacked for turning up to work drunk tried to cover up her boozing by pretending to read a book - only to be caught out as she was holding it upside down.

British Airways dismissed Helen Whitmore for gross misconduct after witnesses reported her as being "steaming" drunk and reeking of booze when she tried to board a flight to Heathrow airport, an employment tribunal heard.

Her claims of unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal were rejected today.

The tribunal heard Miss Whitmore, 53, fell over on a travelator on her way to security check-in.

She said she had no memory of collapsing, blaming her fall on the menopause and said she had suffered nothing more than "a funny turn".

However four members of airport staff said they could smell alcohol on her breath, with three of them independently saying they had seen her reading from an upside down book in an apparent attempt to cover her tracks.

Miss Whitmore, of West Boldon, Tyne and Wear, had attempted to board a flight to Heathrow at Newcastle airport on October 9, 2014, at around 12.30pm.

She was due to start a shift at 5.15pm on a flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong.

Read more: Passenger accused of molesting air stewardess while drunk

However she was seen swaying and stumbling while making her way to the security check-in, dressed in her BA uniform, before she fell over.

CCTV footage taken from the airport of the moment Miss Whitmore fell over was played to tribunal judge Stephen Vowles.The incident happened at Heathrow Airport

Even after being shown the CCTV footage Miss Whitmore insisted: "I don't remember any of that at all."

However she disagreed with suggestions that she was "zig-zagging" across the travelator.

"I agree I'm not completely walking in a straight line, but I'm not staggering," she told the hearing.

Four people claimed they could smell alcohol on her breath, including the duty manager at security check-in and a policeman who later interviewed her.

However Miss Whitmore told an employment tribunal in Reading, Berks., the officer, PC Michael Jackson, could only smell alcohol on her as the interview was conducted in a bar area of the airport.
Andy ComminsMiss Whitmore had been heading to Newcastle International Airport

She was taken off the flight but booked onto a later one, with plans being put in place for her to be breathalysed at Heathrow.

However Miss Whitmore went home instead and a friend reported her as being sick.


Tribunal judge Stephen Vowels ruled that the BA air hostess was definitely drunk and dismissed her claims that she fell over because of the menopause, at the conclusion of the employment tribunal.

Judge Vowels said Ms Whitmore was "quite literally falling over drunk" when she entered the airport.

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