Drunk and abusive plane passenger given a community order


A 20-year-old man from Walsall has today been given a 12 month community order and 180 hours of unpaid work after he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing of being drunk, using threatening words and behaviour and resisting arrest on flight from Dubai to Birmingham.

Birmingham Magistrates' Court heard how on 23 April 2015 Rahees Iqbal and his family had boarded an Emirates flight which was departing from Dubai to Birmingham International Airport.

Shortly after the flight took off, the defendant requested four complimentary bottles of vodka, but he was informed by a member of the crew that he was only entitled to two.

As the flight progressed, he began drinking from a bottle of vodka, which he had purchased at the airport, as well as drinking bottles of Baileys which were being passed to him by his travelling companions.

During the flight, Iqbal became verbally abusive towards the cabin crew who were trying to calm him, and later began to punch the TV screen located in front of him and hit his head on the seat head rest.

The captain of the flight was informed of the defendant's aggressive and abusive behaviour who in turn contacted Birmingham airport to request police attendance when the plane arrived.

As police boarded the aircraft, Iqbal became verbally abusive to the officers and he was subsequently arrested and escorted off the plane.

Iqbal was also ordered to pay £200 compensation and pay £295 costs.

Bindi Athwal, District Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"Rahees Iqbal's behaviour on a passenger flight must have been extremely distressing to his fellow passengers, which would have included young children, as well as the cabin crew.

"Having consumed a large amount of alcohol during the flight, the defendant became verbally abusive to the crew and rather than following their instructions, he became deliberately obstructive and aggressive towards them.   

"We hope this prosecution sends out a clear message that this type of behaviour on passenger flight will not be tolerated. Those who commit such offences and put an aircraft and its passengers in danger will be robustly prosecuted."