A pilot has been charged after being arrested at Heathrow Airport on suspicion of being drunk, police said.
Erwin Vermont Washington, 51, of Lakewood, Colorado in the US, was charged with “being aviation staff performing an aviation function whilst exceeding the proscribed alcohol limit”, Scotland Yard said.
He was released on bail and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in Middlesex on November 20.
The United Airlines pilot was arrested on Monday after being reported to police by colleagues.
The departure to Chicago was “imminent”, with 124 passengers on board and 11 members of crew, when police arrived at the airport.
Passengers were put on to other planes after the flight was cancelled but they were not told the real reason why.
A source said the pilot was on board the Boeing 767 when he was told that police wanted to speak to him. He was then breath-tested once he was off the plane, out of view of the passengers.
A BAA Heathrow spokesman said: “He was reported to police by United Airlines staff. I believe departure was imminent.”
A United Airlines spokeswoman said: "Safety is our highest priority and the pilot has been removed from service while we are co-operating with authorities and conducting a full investigation.
“United Airlines’ alcohol policy is amongst the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation of this well-established policy.”