COUNTY NEWS: Man fined £1,000 for being drunk on flight from Las Vegas

Gatwick Airport. Picture: Jeffrey Milstein
Gatwick Airport. Picture: Jeffrey Milstein

An abusive passenger who urinated in his seat on board a flight from Las Vegas has been fined £1,000, police said.

Shane O’Grady was convicted of being drunk on board an aircraft following the incident on the inbound Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 on Wednesday, May 23, according to Sussex Police.

O’Grady was reported to police by staff on board the flight, and officers were requested to escort him from his seat prior to the disembarkment of other passengers at Gatwick.

The 30-year-old Irish national was described as being persistently disruptive throughout the journey, and using loud and foul language.

After being refused more alcohol, he began to harass and intimidate staff, and was verbally abusive.

In an attempt to calm the situation, the flight crew placed the seatbelt signs on, but insisted passengers could still use the bathroom with caution.

O’Grady demanded the signs were removed and the crew obliged in an attempt to defuse the situation further, but despite this he urinated in his seat.

As a duty of care, staff provided him with a sleep suit – usually kept for First Class passengers – to change into as a result of his actions.

O’Grady, a sign writer, of no fixed address, was arrested after the plane safely landed, and was remanded in custody to appear before Crawley Magistrates’ Court the following day (Thursday 24 May), charged with being drunk on board an aircraft.

He pleaded guilty and was fined £1,000, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

It happened just three days after Sussex Police and Gatwick Airport launched their summer crackdown on disruptive passengers.

Sergeant Darren Taylor, of the Gatwick Prevention Team, said: “Gatwick is a very family-orientated airport, and we work hard with our partners to ensure the millions of passengers who pass through every year have a safe and enjoyable experience.

“We engage with passengers at the earliest opportunity – through patrols, face to face contact and the distribution of posters and leaflets – to make them fully aware of the rules and their own responsibility.

“But while the vast majority are well-behaved, there are always a few individuals who overstep the mark. Those who ignore our advice will be dealt with robustly, as is highlighted by this case.”

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is our top priority, and we won’t tolerate any behaviour that compromises this. We always want our customers to have the best experience when they fly with us, and our cabin crew are highly trained to deal with any individuals that may impact that experience for others. We treat all incidents of disruptive behaviour seriously, and we’ll continue to work with authorities to report incidents onboard.”