The niece of fashion designer Ralph Lauren pushed an air hostess and verbally abused crew during an air rage incident over the Atlantic Ocean, an Irish court heard yesterday (Wed).
Jennifer Lauren, 41, was fined €2,000 (just over $2,7000) after pleading guilty to breaching the peace and being drunk on board a Delta Air Lines flight, which had to be diverted to Shannon Airport last Monday afternoon.
Ennis District Court was told that Lauren, who's a wealthy jewelry designer, verbally abused three airline staff, including two air hostesses, during her foul-mouthed drunken tirade.
At one point Lauren, who has an address at East 65th Street in New York, told a stewardess to "get the f*** out of my face" and called her a "f****** ugly, blonde bitch," before pushing her and turning on a senior colleague and an off-duty pilot.
The court heard that the total cost of the incident cost Delta €31,770 ($43,158) and delayed more than 200 passengers and crew on the transatlantic flight between Barcelona and New York for hours.
Lauren's solicitor, Sharon Curley, told the court that she was embarrassed and upset by her actions, which she said were "out of character" and triggered by a reaction of mixing alcohol with her medication for depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety.
Curley also told the court that her client had overcome anorexia and was currently under the care of a consultant psychiatrist.
Lauren herself kept a low-profile during her court appearance, intermittently biting her lip and staring down at the ground, as the full details of her drunken outburst came to light.
Garda Inspector Tom Kennedy told the judge that the air crew had been left shaken by the incident, which began after Lauren sought help when her seat failed to recline.
He told the court that Lauren called cabin attendant Jennifer Simpson "a fat, ugly, unhappy, blonde bitch" and insulted another stewardess, Constance Topping, by calling her a "f****** ugly, blonde bitch."
The court heard that Lauren then pushed Topping hard "and knocked her back against the wall of the aircraft."
Inspector Kennedy continued, "Ms. Topping said Lauren was ranting and raving, shouting incoherently and told Ms. Topping that she was going to go ballistic.
"Passengers were getting concerned and standing up out of their seats."
The court also heard that a pilot, who was taking a rest break, intervened and tried to calm Lauren down, only to be told by the jewelry designer, "You're an asshole."
The Irish Daily Mail reports that the aircraft's captain felt he had little choice but to divert to Shannon, about 300 miles away, out of fear for the passengers' safety.
Inspector Kennedy recalled that the arresting garda at Shannon detected the smell of alcohol on Lauren and noticed that she was incoherent - even though cabin crew later stated that she drank little or no alcohol on board.
When cautioned at the airport, Lauren replied, "Can you say that in English please?" The jewelry designer, who spent Monday night in the cells at Shannon Garda Station, later claimed she thought she had landed in Spain.
Judge Durcan said the "very personalised insults directed at the cabin crew were nothing short of reprehensible."
However, after imposing the €2,000 fine, he said he accepted that what took place was totally out of character.