An Austrian librarian has apologized unreservedly in an Irish court after it took three male passengers to restrain him on a flight from Washington to Vienna.
Harald Albrecht was fined $600 at Ennis District Court in County Clare after his flight was forced to divert to Shannon as a result of his air rage.
The court heard that at one stage the 32-year-old Albrecht made a lunge at a female flight attendant but did not make contact, after she had refused to serve him more alcohol.
Irish police officer Noel O’Rourke told the court that Albrecht had to be ‘forcibly removed from the aircraft’ after it landed at Shannon.
O’Rourke reported that Albrecht, returning from a five week internship in America, became ‘agitated’ after he had taken a sleeping tablet along with some wine.
“When he was refused more alcohol, he became abusive towards the flight attendants and passengers’ children moved from the seating around Mr Albrecht,” said officer O’Rourke.
“He was delusional and intoxicated when gardaí (police) came on board, and when he sobered up, he was severely remorseful and embarrassed.”
Albrecht, with no previous convictions, had spent the previous five-weeks on an internship at a New York library where he was studying the Holocaust.
Albrecht told Judge John O’Neill he would like to apologize to Austrian Airlines, the cabin crew and the passengers.
“I took the tablet because I was afraid of flying over the ocean,” he said.
“I feel deeply sorry and ashamed for what I have done. I have no memory of the incident but I accept what the witnesses said. I will never take a sleeping tablet again.”
Judge O’Neill fined Albrecht $600 and said: “It was a shocking experience for the passengers concerned but the offence was at the lower end of so-called air rage offences.”