Woman’s air rage forced US aircraft to divert

A 30-year-old New Yorker who spat at a flight attendant on board a transatlantic flight yesterday escaped jail.

Woman’s air rage forced US aircraft to divert

At Ennis District Court yesterday, Marianne Thatcher, with an address at Park Avenue in New York City, was fined €500 after pleading guilty to three air-rage related charges.

Insp Tom Kennedy told the court the captain of an Athens-bound flight from JFK Airport diverted to Shannon 400km yesterday morning due to concerns he had for the other passengers because of Thatcher’s behaviour.

Thatcher’s alcohol-fuelled behaviour on board “was very offensive and she was aggressive”, he said.

At one stage, Thatcher spat at a flight attendant who asked her to sit down.

The flight had 269 other passengers and 13 crew.

Thatcher came to the attention of flight crew staff four hours into the flight because of her intoxication.

When flight attendants refused to give her more wine, “she reacted very badly and demanded more”, said Insp Kennedy.

He said the situation deteriorated when Thatcher “became quite abusive and she told staff to ‘fuck off’ on a number of occasions”.

“She began to shout, she started to yell and she wouldn’t take her seat.”

He said Thatcher was then brought to the back of the aircraft where there were two seats vacant and she began to kick out at seating in front of her.

The inspector said she was then placed in plastic handcuffs by flight attendants.

Insp Kennedy said the captain was being briefed and he diverted the plane to Shannon. Insp Kennedy said the plane landed at 4am before resuming its journey towards Athens at 5.30am.

On arriving at Shannon, Thatcher “was quite difficult to placate and was quite difficult in her behaviour”.

Her solicitor Catriona Carmody said “to say that Thatcher is shocked and terrified by her own behaviour is an understatement. She is a very, very scared young lady who never found herself in a position like this before and has never been inside a court room.”

Ms Carmody said that Thatcher was travelling to Greece to be with her mother, a psychoanalyst, who lives there.

“Marianne was working in an art gallery in Paris and she went to New York to look after her father, as her parents were separated.”

Ms Carmody said that Thatcher nursed her father up to his death and suffered badly from depression afterwards.

“Her father’s death is an explanation as to how her life has gone wrong in the past few years.”

Judge Aeneas McCarthy said that it was a serious matter, forcing a plane to divert.

Fining Thatcher €500, Judge McCarthy said that he would not impose a prison term due to the woman’s remorse and her guilty plea.

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