A drunken Jet2 passenger who forced a flight to divert after trying to open a plane door and yelling “I’m going to kill you all” has been jailed for two years.
‘Abusive’ Chloe Haines, 26, forced a plane from London Stansted to Turkey to turn around and land back in the UK in ‘one of the most serious cases of passenger disruption’ the airline had ever experienced.
Haines, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, admitted endangering an aircraft and also pleaded guilty to assaulting a cabin crew member but denied being drunk on an aircraft at a hearing in December 2019.
She was jailed for two years at Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday.
Haines had said that she “blacked out and didn’t really remember what happened” after mixing alcohol with medication, said prosecutor Michael Crimp.
Judge Charles Gratwicke, sentencing Haines on Wednesday, said: “Those that are trapped in the confined space of the aircraft will inevitably be distressed, frightened and petrified by the actions of those who in a drunken state endanger their lives.
“For some it will be their worst nightmare come true.”
Barrister Oliver Saxby, for Haines, said in December there was “no question that she was drunk” but that the charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft was the “more serious alternative”.
He added: “On any analysis, she’s a troubled young person with a number of serious issues.
“Seventeen days before this incident, she had been sentenced to a community order for not dissimilar offences, not committed in the air but with alcohol and a loss of control.
“That order had not had a chance to bite.”
He said that she had “to her credit engaged more fully with Alcoholics Anonymous”.
A pair of RAF Typhoon fighter jets scrambled to the plane - which was travelling to Dalaman - and escort it back, causing a sonic boom on the way. Haines was arrested by Essex Police when it landed.
On board the flight, a cabin crew member intervened to stop Haines from opening the plane door.
Jet2 said in July it had banned Haines from the airline for life and billed her for £85,000 for what it described as a “catalogue of aggressive, abusive and dangerous behaviour” on the flight.
Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said in July 2019: “Miss Haines’ behaviour was one of the most serious cases of disruptive passenger behaviour that we have experienced.
“She must now face up to the consequences of her actions, and we will vigorously pursue to recover the costs that we incurred as a result of this divert, as we do with all disruptive passengers.
“As a family friendly airline, we take an absolutely zero tolerance approach to disruptive behaviour, and we hope that this sobering incident, with its very serious consequences, provides a stark warning to others who think that they can behave in this fashion.”
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