US businessman admits air rage incident on flight to Shannon

An American businessman has appeared in court charged with an air rage incident on board a flight to Shannon at the weekend.

Stephen Herring apologised for "obnoxious behaviour" towards passengers and crew on a United Airlines flight from Newark, saying he "blacked out" after taking sleeping tablets and alcohol.

Herring was coming to Ireland on holidays but was met by gardaí on landing at Shannon Airport, after the captain of United Airlines flight 24 from Newark alerted them of a disturbance on board.

Inspector Tom Kennedy said Mr Herring became difficult and would not put on his seatbelt or sit down.

Inspector Kennedy also said that Herring became obnoxious and another female passenger had to move seats due to his offensive language, before a crew member restrained him.

The businessman from Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty to three charges under the Air Navigation and Transport Act.

Solicitor Aoife Corridan said her client was ashamed and appalled, explaining that Mr Herring took one Ambien sleeping tablet after two alcoholic drinks when he boarded his Shannon flight in Newark, and blacked out. The next thing he recalls, she added, was waking up in handcuffs.

Judge John O'Neill said sleeping tablets or alcohol are no excuse for the anxiety caused for other passengers, but said the matter could have been more serious.

He struck out the charges on condition that Stephen Herring made a €500 donation to the Clare Crusaders Children's Charity.

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