Wine-swigging plane passenger's abusive outbursts during Alicante to Newcastle flight

April Wilson pictured at Newcastle Crown Court
-Credit: (Image: ChronicleLive)

A drunken holidaymaker caused fear and distress in the skies by shouting and swearing during a Spain to Newcastle flight.

Tipsy April Wilson was upset when she boarded the Jet2 flight in Alicante along with 187 other passengers and the cabin crew. There were repeated attempts to calm the 58-year-old down, she continued shouting and swearing, including at two female cabin crew members.

Wilson, of Front Street, Houghton-le-Spring, has been handed a suspended prison sentence during a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court.

The court heard that when Wilson boarded the flight, which left Spain for Newcastle Airport at 11.25am on November 19 last year, cabin crew noticed she looked upset and they asked if she was okay. The hearing was told that her upset and anger was primarily aimed towards her partner.

Mid-flight, a number of passengers complained about her behaviour, saying she was drunk and kept swearing, with one member of staff hearing her repeatedly saying "f***". She was asked to stop but didn't. As the cabin crew member walked away, a slurring Wilson said: "f*** her" and when told again to stop swearing, replied: "What the f*** are you going to do you silly little cow".

The flight manager then approached her to try to calm her down and Wilson referred to someone, who appeared to be her partner, who she said was taunting her. Wilson appeared upset and said: "You don't f****** understand, I need a hug" and tried to grab the flight manager to cuddle her.

The manager made her a hot drink but Wilson continued swearing, and then when the plane was landing in Newcastle, she undid her seatbelt and tried to get out of her seat.

The court heard a number of passengers complained about her and two sitting near her were moved to other seats early in the flight. After getting off the plane at Newcastle Airport, Wilson was arrested.

She said she had been drinking vodka the night before and two small bottles of wine on the flight. Mark Atkins, prosecuting, said: "She said her partner was taunting her about her looks and intelligence and she shouted ad swore in return and shouted and swore when cabin crew told her to calm down. She appeared remorseful."

The first flight attendant who was sworn at by Wilson said in a victim impact statement that she was "shaken up" by what happened. She added: "I was concerned her behaviour would escalate and I felt intimidated about what was going to happen next. There were 188 passengers on board, of all ages, and they were subjected to her behaviour. Behaviour like this on aircraft is becoming more and more frequent."

The flight manager added: "This is becoming a huge problem due to people using alcohol and drugs." She said that such behaviour at 35,000 feet in an enclosed space is intimidating and added: "I thought she was going to assault me. I was concerned for the other passengers, particularly those around her. She was clearly very intoxicated."

Wilson, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to being drunk on an aircraft and was sentenced to six months suspended for 18 months.

Judge Gavin Doig told her: "You were heard swearing repeatedly, shouting swear words. When asked to stop doing so by cabin staff you were abusive to those members of cabin staff. You tried to assault the person in front of you, which appeared to have been your partner, with whom you were primarily angry at the time. Your actions also caused fear and upset to cabin staff and other passengers. You were extremely upset, not just being gratuitously offensive. There were clearly other issues troubling you."

The court heard Wilson is now getting help for her alcohol issues and Katie Spence, defending, said: "This was entirely out of character for her. Unfortunately the people who felt her wrath were the flight attendants who didn't deserve this to be treated as they were. She's horrified at her behaviour and has learned her lesson."