Drunk passenger who forced Ryanair flight from UK to Spain to do U-turn could face jail sentence

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RYANAIR STATEMENT: "We will not tolerate unruly or disruptive behaviour at any time and the safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority." (File photograph). Photo credit: Shutterstock

A WOMAN who launched a mid-air foul-mouthed rant at Ryanair crew that forced the aircraft to turn back to Manchester has appeared in court and could face a jail sentence.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court was told that 54-year-old Julie Morris swore at and threatened to punch a member of the cabin crew on the flight to Ibiza last month.

Morris, of Blackburn, pleaded guilty to a charge of entering an aircraft whilst drunk.

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District Judge James Hatton decided to send the case to a higher court saying: “The way the legislation is worded means you can be only be dealt with here by means of a financial penalty so I am going to allocate this case to the crown court.”

Morris could, therefore, be handed a more severe punishment when she is sentenced next month.

He said: “You have entered a guilty plea and in due course you will receive full credit for that plea.”

The court had earlier been told that crew on the Ibiza flight had suspected Morris was drinking alcohol that she had brought on board and they asked her about it.

However, she launched a volley of swear words at the Ryanair employees.

Magistrates were told the cabin crew moved her to another row of seats but she continued to be disruptive.

The Ryanair captain alerted the authorities and decided to turn back to ensure the safety of the passengers.

Police met the aircraft Manchester’s Terminal 3 some 40 minutes after it had taken off at and Morris was arrested and taken into custody for questioning.

Tim McArdle, prosecuting, said: “The aircraft will only make the decision to return for the most extreme of incidents.”

He added that diversions could cost airlines tens of thousands of pounds but there was no estimate on how much had cost Ryanair.

On the day of the incident on September 17 Ryanair issued a statement saying: “This flight from Manchester to Ibiza returned to Manchester Airport shortly after take-off after a passenger became disruptive inflight.

“We will not tolerate unruly or disruptive behaviour at any time and the safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority.”

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