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Businessman is jailed for air-rage.

Byline: By MIKE JONES Western Mail

A businessman was jailed for six weeks yesterday after a drunken air-rage rampage aboard a jumbo jet. Michael Jones, 47, downed six brandies, lit a cigarette, swore at flight crew, and scuffled with fellow passengers aboard a 747 jet flying from Bangkok to Heathrow last New Year's Eve.

Eventually he had to be handcuffed and strapped into his seat, Isleworth Crown Court in west London was told.

Jones, from Swansea, a former car dealer, was a platinum Business Class card-holder with Thai Airlines and had travelled regularly to Bangkok.

He was on the home leg of a business trip when the air rage incident happened, said David Smith, prosecuting.

'Mr Jones was treated to some complimentary drinks on the flight and when the flight attendant was asked to serve him, he requested three triple brandies.

'There came a point when flight crew took the view he was drunk and should not drink for another hour.' Jones then began swearing and got out of his seat.

He became more and more abusive and eventually lit a cigarette at the back of the plane.

This was taken from him and he went back to his seat. Six other passengers then approached him to try to get him to calm down and a scuffle broke out.

'The captain issued the authority for Mr Jones to be restrained and he was handcuffed. He continued to struggle, was placed in his chair and strapped across the chest and legs to try to prevent him from misbehaving.'

When the plane touched down at Heathrow he was arrested by police telling officers, 'I'm sorry, I'm not usually like that.'

Jones, from Swansea Road, Swansea, pleaded guilty to drunkenness on an aircraft and threatening and abusive behaviour.

Jailing him for six weeks, Judge Sam Katkhuda said, 'This sort of threatening behaviour while drunk, by passengers in aircraft, is becoming far too prevalent.

'In this court we have to deal with increasing numbers of cases from Heathrow Airport of airline travellers who behave in this manner.

'The safety of the aircraft itself and other passengers may have been put in jeopardy, a relatively small incident on an aircraft in flight might have catastrophic consequences.'

Jones was given six weeks on each count to run concurrently.

Huw Rees-Davies, defending, said Jones had been in a car accident shortly before the flight, had taken pain killers and 'dosed himself up' before getting on the plane and going on to drink.

He said that within the past month Jones had been arrested for drink driving and had a problem with alcohol.

Before the air-rage incident Jones had never been unemployed but was now out of work.

'This has had a catastrophic effect on his mental health,' he added.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 17, 2004
Words:462
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