Man charged after Andy Cole abused
He and another man, of no fixed address, were said to be drunk during the flight when the retired striker was subjected to racial slurs.
The men, both aged in their 20s, were arrested when the Aer Lingus flight touched down at Manchester Airport on Sunday.
They appeared before Trafford Magistrates' Court today where they were charged with a racially aggravated public order offence.
In a statement, Greater Manchester Police confirmed officers were called to the airport in relation to an inbound flight from Dublin.
"Officers were responding to reports that a 42-year-old man was being subjected to racial abuse while on the plane, and that two passengers were drunk and would not co-operate with cabin staff," a spokesman said.
Cole, 42, has suffered numerous racial taunts throughout his career - both on and off the pitch.
He is heavily involved with the Kick It Out campaign along with other black footballers, which aims to stamp out abuse from the stands and in the dressing room.
A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: "Gregory Horan, 26, of no fixed abode, has been charged with being drunk in an aircraft and Lee Patrick Byrne, 28, from Dublin, Republic of Ireland, has been charged with a racially-aggravated public order offence."