But apparently, this Japan Airlines pilot did not have any idea about how serious his job was.
When tested for alcohol after suspicions were aroused, police found he had 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system.
The first officer pleaded guilty to exceeding the alcohol limit at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on Thursday.
Japan Airlines Co. apologized Thursday after one of its co-pilots was arrested in London for failing an alcohol test before departing on a London-Tokyo flight.
JAL said the flight was delayed more than one hour and had to be operated by the remaining two pilots.
The normal legal limit for driving in the United Kingdom would be 80 milligrams per liter. He was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced November 29.
Julian Monaghan drank three double vodkas in his hotel room on an empty stomach before he was due on board a flight from Gatwick Airport to Mauritius on January 18.
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Pilot Katsutoshi Jitsukawa acknowledged he had two bottles of wine and a pitcher of beer the night before he was scheduled to fly the aircraft.
JAL subsequently apologized for the breach and admitted that an in-house breath test was not conducted properly.
"The company sincerely apologises to the passengers and to all affected by the employee's actions", JAL said in the press release.
Under company rules, pilots are prohibited from drinking alcohol within 12 hours before a flight.
The incident comes after a pilot for domestic Japanese airline All Nippon Airways was too hungover to work.
The last-minute sickie forced the airline to delay five flights linking Okinawa island and smaller regional islands, affecting 619 passengers.
The airline will now also involve airport staff in alcohol checks rather than allowing pilots to test each other, Kyodo news agency reported.
The Transport Ministry has been requiring airlines to take measures to prevent alcohol-related incidents.