Virgin Atlantic first class passenger admits drunken attack on air staff at 40,000ft

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Rachel Street leaves Ealing Magistrates Court in London charged with being drunk in an aircraft during a Virgin Atlantic flight from Barbados to Heathrow in January. Picture date: Wednesday March 17, 2021.
Rachel Street launched a drunken attack on airline staff at 40,000ft. (PA)

A first-class passenger on a flight back from the Caribbean has admitted launching a drunken attack on staff at 40,000 ft.

Rachel Street, 41, shouted: “I hope this plane crashes and we all die” and threatened to punch members of the cabin crew during the outburst on the Virgin Atlantic flight from Barbados to Heathrow on 5 January.

Street, from south London, pleaded guilty to behaving in a threatening and abusive manner towards staff on the flight at Ealing Magistrates' Court, as well as admitting entering an aircraft while drunk, failing to obey the pilot’s command to remain in her seat and assaulting a female member of staff.

A Virgin Atlantic charter flight lands at Heathrow Airport, London, delivering vital medical supplies to UK from Shanghai. Itis one of eight cargo-only flights, in partnership with the Department of Health and the NHS, that Virgin Atlantic is operating during April.
The incident happened on a Virgin Atlantic flight from Barbados to Heathrow in January. (Getty)

The court heard the incident started when Street was warned by staff that she could be restrained after showing “disruptive behaviour” in the first class section of the plane.

When asked he she had been drinking, she told cabin crew "what do you think" then swore when they refused to give her more alcohol.

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Street was then moved into a bed and encouraged to go to sleep after acting “inappropriately” towards other passengers, the court heard.

“The defendant was heard making strange remarks about coming onto a male passenger because he ‘seemed lonely and miserable’," said prosecutor Christelle McCracken, adding that Street was heard saying she would “jump” on another male passenger.

Rachel Street leaves Ealing Magistrates Court in London charged with being drunk in an aircraft during a Virgin Atlantic flight from Barbados to Heathrow in January. Picture date: Wednesday March 17, 2021.
Rachel Street pleaded guilty at Ealing Magistrates' Court to being drunk in an aircraft. (PA)

The prosecutor added that after being warned she could face arrest over her behaviour, Street replied “bring it on”.

She was moved from first class to the economy area of the plane after being “loud and abusive”, before barging back in and “lashing out” at a female flight attendant.

McCracken said: “She grabbed the flight attendant’s hair and continued acting abusively and swearing multiple times.”

Street declared: “I hope this plane crashes and we all die”, the court was told, and was also heard saying that she wanted to “punch” members of the crew.

She was restrained and arrested after the plane landed at Heathrow Airport.

The court was told Virgin staff said they had “never experienced behaviour like this at 40,000 feet”.

In mitigation, magistrates were told that Street is a “professional woman” of previous good character who had no prior dealings with police.

She was granted bail and will be sentenced at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on 26 April.

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