A man who was drunk and caused a ruckus at Leeds Bradford Airport has been sentenced to an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, following an incident on May 18th, 2022.
Robert Smith, 45, of Lawns Green, New Farnley, was denied boarding on a Tenerife flight after he was seen bumping into glass panels and acting disruptively in the airport bar.
Despite denying that he was drunk, he was stopped by a female member of Jet 2 staff who then called for assistance from her colleagues.
Smith became abusive and attacked the staff members before being restrained by bar staff and members of the public until security and police arrived to arrest him.
While being handcuffed, Smith headbutted a plainclothes detective and was taken into police custody.
He was charged with two counts of common assault and assaulting an emergency worker and was ordered to pay £120 in compensation to each of the three victims, perform 250 hours of community service, and undergo an alcohol abstinence and monitoring order for 90 days.
In response to the incident, Jet2’s Managing Director, Phil Ward, emphasized the airline’s zero-tolerance policy for disruptive passenger behaviour.
Phil Ward, Managing Director at Jet2.com said:
“As a family friendly airline we take the issue of disruptive passenger behaviour very seriously and have led the way to clamp down on it.
“We welcome this sentencing, which sends out a strong warning that such behaviour will not be tolerated by the courts.
“Disruptive passenger behaviour can lead to very serious consequences such as banning orders and financial penalties, and as this case proves, severe court action.
“In the interests of the comfort and well-being of our customers and colleagues onboard, we will continue with our zero tolerance approach to disruptive passenger behaviour.”
Sergeant Anne Haydock, of the Leeds Bradford Airport Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
“It is a criminal offence to be drunk on an aircraft, and airline staff have the right to refuse passengers who are suspected of being intoxicated from boarding. Disruptive behaviour such as drunkeness can be a potential risk to the safety of the aircraft and can also result in aircraft diversions that cause significant inconvenience and cost.
“Airline staff, and the police officers who support them, should be able to carry out their duties without having to face the kind of completely unnecessary threats and violence they encountered during this incident.
“Incidents such as this will always be treated seriously and attract criminal charges. We hope Smith’s conviction and sentence for these offences will remind people of how unacceptable behaviour such as this is.”