An armed air marshal was taken off a United Airlines flight and arrested at London Heathrow Airport on Monday for "stinking of booze".
The marshal was kicked off the Los Angeles-bound flight and breathalysed before being held on suspicion of being over the prescribed limit but later released, according to police.
"It is only an offence if someone has an aviation function like flying the plane or being an engineer.
"When the case was reviewed it was decided the legislation did not fit with the function he performed."
Whilst the sky marshal had not broken UK laws, officials in America are now investigating the incident, as air marshals are banned from drinking alcohol at least four hours before flying.
Scotland Yard confirmed the incident and a United Airlines spokesperson apologised for the two-hour delay.
Last year, a federal air marshal was booted off a flight by the captain after he threatened to file a complaint over a flight attendant spilling a drink.
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aviation Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com