A New York woman spat at a flight attendant on board a transatlantic flight after her demands for alcohol were turned down, an Irish court has heard.
Marianne Thatcher, 30, who has an address at Park Avenue in Manhattan, pleaded guilty to three air-rage related charges at a special sitting of Ennis District Court yesterday.
The court heard that the captain of the Athens-bound flight was forced to divert to Shannon airport at 4am yesterday, 250 miles out, due to the concerns he had for the other passengers on board because of Thatcher’s behaviour.
The court was told that Thatcher’s booze-fuelled conduct – which resulted in staff restraining her with plastic conducts – “was very offensive and she was aggressive”.
However, she escaped a jail sentence and instead was given a €500 ($660) fine, after Judge Aeneas McCarthy took into account the American woman’s remorse and guilty plea.
During the court hearing, it emerged that Thatcher at one point spat at a flight attendant who asked her to sit down.
The Irish Independent reports that that were 269 other passengers and 13 crew on board and that Thatcher came to the attention of staff four hours into her flight “because of her intoxication”.
In court Inspector Tom Kennedy said that when flight attendants turned down Thatcher’s demands for more wine, “she reacted very badly and demanded more”.
Insp. Kennedy said Thatcher’s behaviour further deteriorated to the point where she “became quite abusive and she told staff to f*** off on a number of occasions”.
He said she was then taken to the back of the aircraft where there were two seats vacant, when she began kicking out at the seats in front of her. It was at that point that increasingly-concerned flight attendants decided to place her in plastic handcuffs.
Thatcher’s solicitor, Catriona Carmody, told the court: “To say that Ms. Thatcher is shocked and terrified by her own behaviour is an understatement. She is a very, very scared young lady who never found herself in a position like this before and has never been inside a court room.”
Carmody also told the court that Ms. Thatcher was travelling to Greece to be with her mother and that she had suffered depression following the recent death of her father.
She admitted her client, who has no previous convictions, had a drink at the airport and a few more drinks on board.
But she added: “Her father’s death is an explanation as to how her life has gone wrong in the past few years.
“She began to think about her father and what happened in her life on the plane and she doesn’t remember a whole lot after that.”