Flight attendant fired after customers complain about her drunken behavior

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Julianne Marsh. Credit: Facebook.

Lincoln Wright

South Bend Tribune, Ind.

An attendant on a Chicago-to-South Bend flight last week has been charged in St. Joseph County for being intoxicated while working the flight.

Julianne March, 49, of Waukesha, Wis., was charged Thursday with misdemeanor public intoxication. She was arrested Aug. 2 after being removed from the plane when it landed in South Bend. She was released the next day and has an initial hearing scheduled for Aug. 29. The sentencing range for the charge is up to 180 days.

March was part of an Air Wisconsin crew working a United Express flight. The flight departed O’Hare International Airport shortly before 9 a.m.

One passenger wrote a tweet addressed to United Airlines during the flight to complain about March’s condition.

“Our flight attendant appears to be quite drunk,” Aaron Scherb tweeted. “She is slurring her speech (she couldn’t make it through the security announcement), couldn’t walk straight/was bumping into everyone in the aisle, and kept dropping things.”

March fell asleep in the jump seat after takeoff and passengers at one point fastened her seat belt for her, Scherb said.

South Bend International Airport officers boarded the plane after it landed. Numerous passengers expressed concern to the officers about the flight attendant, some believing she might have a medical issue, according to charging documents.

“A few passengers reported they felt scared for their lives based upon the apparent condition of Ms. March,” the documents say.

March at first was not willing to stand up and replied “Chicago” when officers asked her where she was, the documents say. Once she stood up, she needed to use the airplane’s seats to maintain her balance. She answered “no” multiple times when officers asked if she was on any medications, according to the documents.

March was taken from the plane and brought to a private office in the airport, where officers noticed she had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech; they also smelled alcohol on her breath.

While being transported to the St. Joseph County Jail, March told an officer she had two vodka “shooters” prior to going to work that morning. A breath test by March showed a blood alcohol content of 0.20%, according to the documents.

Air Wisconsin did not respond to a request for comment.

When asked about the incident by The Tribune earlier this week, a spokesperson for United Airlines said the request was forwarded to Air Wisconsin, which responded that, “The flight attendant was detained by authorities after a report of possible impairment. We are investigating the situation and fully cooperating with the local authorities.”

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574-235-6324 @LWrightSBT

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