Southwest Grounds Pilot Following Claims He Was Drinking

Southwest launches investigation

Southwest Airlines put a pilot on paid leave after he allegedly showed up at an airport with alcohol on his breath.

Southwest spokeswoman Beth Harbin today confirmed the pilot was replaced before his flight departed Tuesday from Columbus, Ohio, to Orlando, Fla.

Dallas-based Southwest declined to identify the pilot. The internal investigation continues.

Harbin says the pilot was stopped at a checkpoint after two travelers alerted Transportation Security Administration screeners to the possibility he'd been drinking.

Harbin says the pilot -- after being confronted -- called in sick.

The Columbus Dispatch reports an airport police report says that the pilot fled to a bathroom and changed out of his Southwest jacket and hat -- then called in sick.

Federal regulations bar a pilot from operating a plane within eight hours of drinking alcohol.

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