EasyJet flight to Manchester Airport descends into chaos as passenger threatens cabin crew

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Ground operations . General views of operations at Manchester Airport . 6 September 2023 -Credit:Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News

A drunken passenger on a flight from Turkey to Manchester Airport threatened to 'chin' an EasyJet cabin crew member after they confiscated his drink. After the plane landed, Benjamin Lynch stumbled down the aisle, falling onto a seated passenger with a baby nearby, despite the seatbelt warning lights still being illuminated, according to court reports.

In a further incident, his intoxicated mother attempted to push past police officers and told them to 'f*** off' when they boarded the flight to arrest him. She was subsequently arrested as well.

As the summer holiday season approaches, a crown court judge issued a stern warning to those who excessively drink before or during flights. Patricia Lynch, 59, and her son Benjamin, 29, were described as creating a 'terrifying' experience for other passengers on the flight in May last year.

The returning jet was carrying 179 other holidaymakers, including babies and young children, Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

Both mother and son, residents of Pope Lane in Ribbleton, Preston, pleaded guilty to being drunk on board an aircraft under the Air Navigation Order 2009, reports the Manchester Evening News.

Benjamin Lynch, who has a history of 14 previous convictions for 23 offences, was sentenced to four months in prison. His mother, with no prior convictions, received a two-month suspended sentence and was ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work.

The court recognised her situation as 'different' from her son's, noting a clear 'distinction' between their actions on the flight.

Judge Jonathan Seely criticised Benjamin Lynch for his 'gross selfishness and a complete lack of respect', stating: "The behaviour was started by you, Benjamin Lynch, and went on for a very long time. You behaviour was disgraceful - totally selfish. You should not get on an aeroplane as an adult if you cannot control your drinking or your behaviour."

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He added: "Those who become drunk on an aircraft whilst in flight must expect a custodial sentence. A lot of people on that flight were probably terrified of flying. Then when someone kicks off like you did - why should they have to suffer your abuse? ".

While Judge Seely described Patricia Lynch's behaviour as 'disgraceful', he deemed it less severe than her son's actions.

Prosecutor James Hudson revealed that the flight duration was four-and-a-half hours, with Benjamin Lynch's disruptive behaviour starting approximately two-and-a-half hours into the journey. He was initially noticed at the back of the plane, speaking loudly and using profanity.

Despite being warned, the court heard, he continued his unruly conduct.

An hour before landing, a fellow passenger requested to be moved due to Lynch's behaviour. However, the court was told that he attempted to incite a reaction by invading the man's personal space and pushing him.

The court heard that Patricia Lynch ordered a vodka and lemonade and accused the passenger of 'taking the p***'. The cabin crew then confiscated their drinks, which led to a 'strong reaction' from Benjamin Lynch.

He threatened to 'chin' a crew member, stood up to confront him, and knocked over drinks in the process.

After returning to his seat, the court was informed that he visited the toilet four times as they approached Manchester. He then began to stumble down the aisle as the plane taxied to the gate after landing, at one point falling onto a nearby passenger holding a baby.

When the police boarded the plane, he walked down the aisle with his hands outstretched ready to be handcuffed, before lying on the floor.

Mr Hudson stated that Patricia Lynch started arguing with the officers, insisting her son had done nothing wrong. "She tried to push past officers and also told officers to f*** off," he said.

"The officers described her as slurring her words and smelling of alcohol. Both pleaded guilty at the first opportunity."

The court was informed that Benjamin Lynch expressed 'heartfelt and genuine remorse' and wished to extend an apology. The holiday was described as 'particularly fraught', with Lynch struggling with anxiety and claustrophobia.

His mother was reportedly attempting to calm her son, and her counsel portrayed her involvement as 'secondary' to his and 'extremely out of character'.

Judge Seely remarked: "People have to be responsible for their own actions, and alcohol is no excuse. It is about other people. Children were affected."