The perils of pre-flight drinking can be greater than those of in-flight drinking, as the disgrace of a respected British university lecturer who guzzled a bottle of duty-free brandy has just illustrated.
Leah Wild (44), a lecturer at a top British university, resigned from her job after a scandal in which she swigged a bottle of brandy and slapped a policewoman in the face during a drunken uproar on a Ryanair flight, the Irish Independent reported.
It happened when a strike by French air traffic controllers delayed a Ryanair flight to Portugal for three hours. As the plane sat on the tarmac at Bristol, a couple of passengers took to the bottle.
Wild started downing duty-free bourbon with a friend Reuben Crowe (23), the court heard. The pair were acquaintances but not on holiday together.
They got drunk and rowdy and were listening to loud music. The captain gave the duo 10 minutes to calm down or be removed from the aircraft.
They were “waving their arms around, tossing their heads, swearing and were clearly drunk,” the court heard. By the time police arrived their shouting and swearing had reached such a pitch another passenger had left the plane.
Crowe ended up being restrained in his seat, handcuffed and arrested. Wild switched to drinking a bottle of brandy. As a policewoman grabbed Wild and marched her toward the exit Wild slapped her across the face.
Wild quit her university post as director of studies immediately after the incident in April last year, the paper reported. She had worked at the university for over a decade.
The duo pleaded guilty in Bristol Crown Court last week to being drunk on a plane and assaulting a police officer. Each received a suspended sentence (four months in prison, suspended for 12 months) and was ordered to complete 80 hours community work.
Both were banned from Bristol Airport for a year. Additionally, Wild was ordered to pay GBP 500 in compensation and Crowe was ordered to pay GBP 250.
Written by : Peter Needham