A plane passenger who had downed whisky bought at the airport tried to open an aircraft door mid-flight, assaulting his girlfriend and threatening to bite a woman’s finger off in a “petrifying” cabin confrontation.
Alexandros Christou’s behaviour on the easyJet flight from Cyprus was so disruptive the pilot sped up the flight in order to get the plane to touch down sooner, a court heard.
Chef Christou also ignored the seatbelt sign, spat at a passenger, and swung a bag at a cabin crew member – missing his target – during the trip back to Bristol Airport after visiting his estranged dad.
The 21-year-old, from Pontypool, Wales, was described by fellow passengers as being “11 out of 10 angry” as he hurled abuse and tried to wrench the aircraft door open, Bristol Crown Court heard.
Catherine Flint, prosecuting, said Christou and his girlfriend were travelling back together and the defendant had bought a bottle of whisky at the airport, as BristolLive reports.
After boarding the aircraft the couple argued and he hit his partner in the face. She asked to be moved.
Miss Flint said: “Mr Christou was moved to the back of the plane and it was explained to him why. He became very abusive and was abusive to his girlfriend in English and Greek.
“He was absolutely enraged.”
The court heard as well as threatening a passenger and clashing with the cabin staff, Christou tried to open the back door of the aircraft, uttered vile abuse including a homophobic slur in Greek, spat at but missed a passenger, and threw soap and tissue at his girlfriend.
Miss Flint added: “The captain was kept informed. He sped up the flight and communicated with air traffic control. The flight landed at Bristol and was met by police.”
The court heard Christou, of Rhydynos Street, was arrested and tried to chew his way through handcuffs, injuring his mouth. He then spat blood in the police vehicle, which had to be deep cleaned at a cost of £107.
He later admitted battery, two common assaults, a public order offence, criminal damage, being drunk on an aircraft, and reckless behaviour likely to endanger an aircraft.
Edmund Wylde, mitigating, stressed that his client entered an early guilty plea to a single episode of drunken activity on the aircraft.
He told the court Christou, a capable chef, was returning to the UK after visiting his estranged father.
Judge James Patrick sent him to prison for 11 months.
He told Christou: “This was a petrifying incident for those who were involved. Those who offend in this way must expect to receive a custodial sentence.”