Reporting for the Huffington Post, Sara C. Nelson writes: a woman with “insane strength” who assaulted an airline steward while drunk and tried to open the doors of a plane mid-flight has been jailed for two years.
Chloe Haines (left, PA Image), 26, pleaded guilty to endangering the safety of an aircraft and assault by beating after an incident that saw a passenger plane to Turkey forced to divert back to Stansted Airport. She was so violent that two RAF jets were scrambled to escort the Jet2 plane back to Britain on June 22.
Haines was accused by the airline of a “catalogue of aggressive, abusive and dangerous behaviour” on a flight bound for Dalaman in Turkey, including trying to open the aircraft doors during the flight.
She also admitted assaulting cabin crew member Charley Coombe during an appearance at Chelmsford Crown Court in December.
Haines denied a charge of drunkenness on an aircraft.
Barrister Oliver Saxby, for Haines, said there was “no question that she was drunk” but that the charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft was the “more serious alternative”.
Haines was said to have been restrained by both crew and customers while the two Typhoon fighter jets chaperoned the plane back to Stansted.
The aircraft caused a sonic boom as they flew to meet the plane and escort it.
An ex-bouncer on board the flight told The Sun of Haines’ “insane strength” as he wrestled her to the floor during the incident.
Steven Brown, 58, said: “She was punching, kicking and screaming at the stewards. They were trying to stop her but they had no chance.
“She was only petite but she had the strength of a fully-grown man. The only time I’ve seen anything like that was when someone had just dropped acid. She had super strength.”
Left: a Twitter-posted image of Haines after being restrained on the aircraft.
Haines, of Maidenhead in Berkshire, was arrested by Essex Police upon landing on suspicion of assault, criminal damage and endangering an aircraft.
Shortly afterwards, Jet2 said in a statement she has been hit with both an £85,000 bill and a lifetime ban from the airline.
Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “Miss Haines’ behaviour was one of the most serious cases of disruptive passenger behaviour that we have experienced.
“She must now face up to the consequences of her actions, and we will vigorously pursue to recover the costs that we incurred as a result of this divert, as we do with all disruptive passengers.
“As a family friendly airline, we take an absolutely zero tolerance approach to disruptive behaviour, and we hope that this sobering incident, with its very serious consequences, provides a stark warning to others who think that they can behave in this fashion.”
Above: Chloe Haines (centre) leaves Chelmsford Magistrates Court (Getty Images)
KJM Today Opinion
This incident is one of many over recent years, to have blighted the travel experience of most ordinary people. It does beg a question; do other countries suffer the apparent frequency of such behaviour on board an airliner?
There has certainly been many instances of disruptive behaviour in the USA but population numbers probably have more to do with that than anything else. It does seem however, to be a peculiarly British trait for passengers on board airliners to be drunk and disorderly, or just plainly badly-behaved.
There can be little doubt that the UK does have a problem with education and how one should conduct oneself generally. As younger person, Chloe Haines is one who has grown up in the UK recently and is - just - of a generation that seems to have no concept of how to behave.
Which gives rise to another question; is two years imprisonment enough? This young woman will be released (under current rules) after just one year. Our view is that a two-year sentence is not long enough and the full term must be served.
This incident, along with so many of a similar nature, in the air and on the ground up and down the UK (especially at weekends) is a savage indictment not just of the UK as a country but of her and, significantly, her parents and an education system that has produced both.
For more on life in the UK today and the reasons for behaviour like that of Chloe Haines,
read Kevan James's book, Comments of a Common Man
£9.99 from Amazon