A woman has been sentenced to two years in prison for attempting to open the door of a plane mid-flight in June of 2019.
Chloe Haines, 26, was on a flight from London to Dalaman, Turkey. Passengers and crew say she leapt up, lunged for the door and tried to open it. She had to be restrained by other passengers and aircraft crew, and the plane was escorted back to London by a pair of Royal Air Force fighter jets.
Haines Mixed Alcohol and Medication
According to court filings, Haines had mixed alcohol and medication before boarding the plane. She said she has no memory of doing this.
This, coupled with depression and suicidal thoughts, led Haines to attempt to kill herself and everyone on the plane in a sudden fit. She reportedly shouted “I want to die,” and “I’m taking you all with me,” as she lunged for the door.
“Ms. Haines’ behavior was one of the most serious cases of disruptive passenger behavior that we have experienced, and we have banned her from flying with us for life,” said Steve Heapy, the CEO of Jet2holiday. Jet2 fined Haines $110k, citing her “extremely disruptive behavior.”
For her actions, Haines plead guilty in court to endangering the safety of an aircraft and for assaulting a member of the plane’s crew. According to her lawyers, Haines has since had an opportunity to detox from alcohol in order to address her alcoholism.
The Dangers of Unchecked Alcoholism
Haines’ defense lawyers asserted that, since the incident, she has been sober and attending regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
“She wasn’t just drunk, she was unwell,” Haines’ lawyer contended. The defense noted Haines’ struggles with mental health and her ongoing battle with alcoholism.
During sentencing, Judge Charles Gratwicke noted that “Those that are trapped in the confined space of the aircraft will inevitably be distressed, frightened and petrified by the actions of those who in a drunken state endanger their lives.”
Discussing the role of alcohol in disruptive passenger behavior, Heapy noted “We have been leading the industry to tackle the issue of drinking to excess in the airport before flying, as well as the illicit consumption of duty free alcohol on board the aircraft, for some time.”
The Jet2 CEO continued, “As another busy summer approaches, we look forward to continuing to work with the government and our partners across the industry to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and comfortable journey without the minority spoiling it.”