E-cig air rage incident lands airline with €100k costs after it had to land in Shannon
A man has been fined €1,000 after an air rage incident, sparked by a row over an e-cigarette, on a flight that made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport last night.
Limerick District Court heard the incident cost Norwegian Airlines €100,000 in refuelling and landing slot costs.
Jody Bochner (26) was drinking from a litre of gin before he set off one of the plane's smoke alarms after using an e-cigarette in a toilet.
After a cabin crew member told him he could not smoke the device on board, he "leapt" from his seat and attempted to assault a male member of staff.
The Norwegian Boeing 787 Dreamliner, carrying 249 passengers and 13 crew, was 40 minutes into its journey yesterday from London Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale, United States, when the mid-air drama began.
Garda Karen Walsh, Shannon Garda Station told the court Mr Bochner told staff on the flight, "f*** you" and to "f*** off".
"He was very aggressive and he leapt from his seat and attempted to strike a cabin crew member. The cabin crew restrained him and placed in him handcuffs," she said.
"He carried on being abusive and shouting and banging the seats in front of him. Six passengers who were seated around him had to be moved.
"He didn't believe he had done anything wrong. He was abusive and aggressive as we brought him to the garda station. He also slipped. I could smell the liquor off of him," she added.
Garda Walsh said Mr Buchner, from Miami, was a "totally different gentleman" after sobering up and spending the night in Shannon Garda Station.
The plane had been cruising South of Cork when the Captain decided to divert to Shannon.
Garda Walsh said the Captain "had to dump 20 tonnes of fuel at a cost of €20,000".
She said the fuel had to be replaced at a further cost of €20,000.
"The airline lost its landing slots in the US and its returning slots at Gatwick which costs them €60,000," she added.
Solicitor Stiofan Fitzpatrick said Mr Bochner was on his way back home to the States after visiting his girlfriend in London.
"He had planned to take alcohol and go to sleep, as it was a long haul flight. He bought a litre of gin and he placed it into a Coke bottle," Mr Fitzpatrick said.
"It seems it had the opposition effect on him," he added.
Mr Fitzpatrick said Mr Bochner had no memory of the incident and was "very embarrassed".
Judge Aeneas McCarthy convicted and fined Mr Bochner €1,000 for been threatening, abusive and insulting on board the flight.
The judge took into consideration a charge of being drunk on the flight, and a charge of engaging in offensive behaviour having been requested to cease that behaviour.
Mr Bochner was given 28 days to pay the fine or spend thirty days in prison.