Pair of drunk strangers handed jail terms after forcing plane to make emergency landing


Two strangers whose drunken behaviour forced a packed passenger jet to make an emergency landing before have both been handed jail terms.

Derek Root and Alexander Gray’s drunken actions meant the Thomson Flight from Glasgow to Alicante was forced to land before it even left the UK – diverting to Bristol Airport.

Bristol Crown Court heard that Root, 30, downed 10 shots of Jack Daniel’s in the departure lounge after his flight was delayed by three hours.

When he finally boarded the flight, fellow passenger Gray, 38, handed him a bottle of Jagermeister.

The pair – who had never met before the flight on July 8 – then proceeded to become abusive to their fellow passengers and the flight’s crew, forcing the plane to be diverted to Bristol Airport where they were arrested by waiting police.

Strangers – the two men had never met before the flight on July 8 this year (Pictures: SWNS)

Root was jailed for eight months and Gray given a six-month suspended prison sentence after both admitted being drunk on an aircraft and being abusive to staff.

Judge Michael Cullum told the pair: “You were both completely drunk and must have known you were getting drunk, drinking whiskey after whiskey, pint after pint. What you did was absolutely abhorrent.”

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The court heard that refuse collector Root and hospital porter Gray were both drunk by the time the plane left at 10am – three hours after its scheduled departure time.

Chloe Griggs, prosecuting, told the court the men started complaining about the delay as soon as they boarded. Root told one member of cabin crew to “go and f*** herself”, then asking if she wanted his “c**k” when she requested his passport.

Arrested –  police were waiting at Bristol, where the flight was forced to divert due to the men’s behaviour

She said Gray was repeatedly banging the seat in front of him and was sick on the floor and seat beside him, before spitting at the seat in front of him while shouting and swearing.

Both men then fell asleep in their seats, the court heard.

The plane landed at Bristol at 11.50am, where police were waiting on the concourse, but officers found it difficult to wake Gray, Ms Griggs told the court.

Their behaviour meant the plane was delayed by a further 90 minutes and the men’s antics cost Thomson £69,468 due to redirection of planes, flight delays and others expenses.