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United tells pilots no alcohol for 12 hours before flights

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 24: A United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits parked at the terminal at San Francisco International Airport on April 24, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Boeing's first quarter profits fell 21 percent following the Boeing 737 Max technical issues that have grounded all of the Max aircraft around the world. Two Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed in a six months period. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — United Airlines is setting an earlier cut-off time when pilots must stop drinking alcohol before flights.

The airline is telling pilots they must abstain from alcohol for 12 hours before flights, up from a previous ban lasting eight hours.

The change in the so-called bottle-to-throttle rule comes after two United pilots were arrested in Scotland and charged with suspicion of being under the influence before a flight to the U.S.

The old 8-hour limit complied with Federal Aviation Administration rules, which also prohibit pilots from flying with a blood-alcohol content at or above 0.04%.

A United Airlines spokesman says the new policy was sent to pilots a week ago and took effect last Saturday.

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