The Pilot Story

Japan’s Alcohol Checks for Pilots the Strictest in the World

投稿日:20/04/2023 更新日:

Hello, I’m J.

My occupation is alcohol check.

I would like to share the current situation of alcohol check in Japan. The number of alcohol checks is more than the number of flights.

I want many people to know about it. If you read this and feel safe to fly, please share it.

The purpose of sharing this is to let everyone know about the current situation in Japan and to make people feel safe when flying, not for any other reason.

We are doing such strict and thorough alcohol checks, so please rest assured that everyone who flies should feel safe.

With three types of alcohol checks we are well prepared!

First, let me introduce you to the different types of alcohol checks.

There are three types.
The tests are operated under the guidance of the Civil Aviation Bureau(CAB) of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and operate under stricter standards than those for cars.

It must be less than 0.01mg/l.

Although the notification is based on the standard of 0.01mg/l or less, many companies are doing it based on the standard that anything other than 0.00mg/l is not acceptable.

①Pre-flight alcohol check

This is an alcohol check to be performed before the flight. Drunk driving (piloting) is very dangerous. If alcohol is detected here, no excuses will be accepted and you will be dismissed immediately.

As professionals who are responsible for the lives of many people, coming to work under the influence of alcohol is unacceptable.

However, if you are a pilot belonging to the Civil Aviation Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, which is in charge of supervising and guiding airlines, you will not be fired even if alcohol is detected. They are kind to their colleagues. You will only be given a stern warning.

②In-between-flight alcohol check

Pilots crew multiple flights per day on domestic flights.

The time between the arrival of an airplane at a destination and its departure to the next destination is called “between flights”.

Alcohol checks are conducted between flights. This is because there may be pilots who take time out of their busy schedule between flights to drink without being noticed by staff or their partners.

This check is conducted when there is an interval of more than two hours between flights.

This is because there is a good natured belief that the time between flights is too short to allow for quicksand drinking within 2 hours. Thank goodness for that!

Also, what a surprise, we check for alcohol twice between flights!

The reason is that if we only do one check between flights, there will be a gap after that check is done, and people will drink.

Therefore, we do two alcohol checks, one after the flight and one before the flight, between flights.

Incidentally, we conduct the checks twice in a row without a hair break.

Please be assured that no one has ever been caught in this inter-flight inspection.

③Post-flight alcohol check

The cockpit is a closed room. There are only two pilots.

It is essential to check the pilots after the flight because they may have been drinking during the flight.

After the flight, an alcohol check is conducted before anything else.

If you forget to do so, you will be found guilty. You cannot complain if you are told that you pretended to forget and went home in order to cover up the fact that you drank during the ride.

If you forget and leave, you will have to come back to work one more time to be checked; once you go home, a lot of time will have passed, so you cannot complain if they suspect that you were trying to buy time to get the alcohol out of your system during that time.

If you forget and leave work and then go home and drink alcohol, you are guilty. It is extremely difficult to clearly prove whether the alcohol was consumed during the flight or at home after returning home.

By the way, no one has ever been caught by this test, so please do not worry.

Pilots are creatures that drink at the drop of a hat.

Pilots are considered to be creatures that drink at the drop of a hat.

Alcohol checks are not permitted between pilots.

A third-party staff member who is not the pilot must always confirm that the alcohol level was 0.00 mg/l.

This is because two people may drink together during the flight and then make a false report to cover each other’s mouths.

If it is between flights, we can go to where the staff is and inspect them, or if that is not possible, we can connect them via video and inspect them. Even if this takes a little time and results in a delay in the flight, safety and security are the priority.

Bringing laughter to the world.

The rules for alcohol checks are the same for international flights.

Basically, there is only one flight per day for international flights, so alcohol checks are conducted twice a day, once before flight and once after flight.

Alcohol checks after flight are conducted under the supervision of local staff. The longer the flight, the more chances there are to drink.

Japan is the only country that conducts such strict alcohol checks. Japan is indeed a country with a high level of safety awareness.

For some reason, the local staff always looks at us with a wry smile when we are checking alcohol.

Recently, their cold stares have become pleasant.


Thank you for reading to the end.

We hope you will spread the word about this article, as making as many people as possible aware of it will help us to build a better system.

Thank you very much.

-The Pilot Story



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