Drunk passenger fined $22,000 for forcing Canadian plane to land

The passenger was ordered to pay Canadian airline WestJet for 20,000 tonnes of wasted fuel the pilot dumped over Alberta to safely land the aircraft back in Calgary on Jan 4, 2019.
The passenger was ordered to pay Canadian airline WestJet for 20,000 tonnes of wasted fuel the pilot dumped over Alberta to safely land the aircraft back in Calgary on Jan 4, 2019.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/WESTJET

WASHINGTON • A few pre-flight drinks can get expensive rather quickly.

But for David Stephen Young, a round of six alcoholic beverages he drank before his flight from Calgary to London prompted a rash of unruly behaviour, culminating in an abrupt turnaround, an arrest and a hefty fine of more than US$16,000 (S$21,600).

Young, 44, was ordered by a court judge to pay Canadian airline WestJet for 20,000 tonnes of fuel the pilot had to dump over Alberta to safely land the aircraft back in Calgary on Jan 4.

The fine came after he pleaded guilty last week to resisting arrest and failing to comply with safety instructions during the fight, according to USA Today.

Young, a British national, tried to access the restroom during take-off and became belligerent with the flight crew and a passenger, the paper said, citing court documents.

Passengers and the crew "were left shaken and threatened by (Young's) behaviour" that was "verbally aggressive", according to the documents.

Young apologised about the "damage and inconvenience" of his behaviour, USA Today reported, adding that the actual burden to WestJet could eclipse US$150,000 when costs such as passenger reimbursement are included.

Provincial judge Brian Stevenson gave WestJet the option to pursue damages through a civil case. The airline declined to say if it planned to do so.

Young was described as an alcoholic in court, prompting his attorney Michelle Parhar to seek a lower penalty.

He had experienced a recent death in the family, according to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and was in Canada to visit his mother.

The ruling means Young is "essentially barred from entering Canada, barred from seeing his mother", Ms Parhar said.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2019, with the headline 'Drunk passenger fined $22,000 for forcing Canadian plane to land'. Print Edition | Subscribe