Two strangers whose drunken behaviour forced a packed passenger jet to make an emergency landing before even leaving the UK have been jailed.
Derek Root, 30, downed 10 shots of Jack Daniel’s in the departure lounge of Glasgow Airport after his flight was delayed by three hours.
When he finally the Alicante-bound jet, fellow passenger Alexander Gray, 38, handed him a bottle of Jagermeister which he also started drinking.
The pair soon became abusive to passengers and crew, with Root asking stewards if they ‘wanted his c**k’ before Gray was sick on the floor, the Daily Record reported .
They were subdued by staff and returned to their seats – where they promptly fell fast asleep as the plane diverted to Bristol Airport.
Police swarmed onto the plane, where it proved “very difficult to rouse” the pair and arrest them, Bristol Crown Court heard yesterday.
Root was jailed for eight months and Gray was given a six-month suspended prison sentence after both admitted being drunk on an aircraft and being abusive to staff.
Judge Michael Cullum told the pair: “You were both completely drunk and must have known you were getting drunk, drinking whiskey after whiskey, pint after pint.
“What you did was absolutely abhorrent.”
The court heard how Root, a refuse collector at ‘Happy Bins’, and Gray, a hospital porter, had never met before the Thomson flight on July 8 this year.
Root was going on holiday for a week with his girlfriend and had only been on a plane once before.
They were due to depart at 7am but the plane did not leave until 10am, by which time both men were drunk.
By sheer coincidence, they found themselves sitting near each other – the first time they had met.
Chloe Griggs, prosecuting, said: “As soon as the flight boarded, the crew were in difficulties.
“Mr Root and Mr Gray were both complaining about the delay and after about 20 minutes a passenger approached the crew and said they were shouting and swearing and disturbing passengers.
“Mr Gray was in possession of an open bottled of Jagermeister and the crew removed it from him.
“Mr Root pressed all the call buttons and a cabin crew member came over.
“He told her to ‘go and f*** herself’ and she asked for his passport.
“He responded ‘do you want my passport or my c**k?’
“Mr Root’s partner handed over his passport and he got up out of his seat and went towards the cabin crew member to grab his passport.
“He said ‘Give me my f***ing passport you c***!’ and she said ‘Don’t touch me’.
“Mr Gray was repeatedly banging the seat in front of him and was sick on the floor and seat beside him.
“He then began spitting at the seat in front of him and was shouting and swearing.”
At this point the pilot made the decision to divert and make an emergency landing at Bristol Airport, some 400 miles after taking off.
“Cabin crew asked Gray to put his seatbelt on and he said ‘Do you want to sit on me? You do it for me.’ Ms Griggs added.
“Mr Root and Mr Gray then fell asleep in their seats.”
Police vehicles swarmed onto the concourse as the plane landed at 11.50am.
“Police found it very difficult to rouse Mr Gray and he had spit running down his chin,” Ms Griggs told the court. “He had to be forcibly removed from the aircraft.
“He was arrested and taken to hospital then the police station.
“Police could smell alcohol on Mr Root’s breath and he appeared to lose consciousness.”
In interview Gray said he had been drinking since the Friday evening and could not remember anything.
Ms Griggs continued: “Mr Root said he remembered the plane being delayed and during that time he drank 10 Jack Daniels.
“He said Mr Gray offered him Jagermeister and downed that drink for about three seconds.
“But he said he didn’t remember anything further until he was off the plane.”
The plane was delayed by a further 90 minutes, costing Thomson £69,468 because of the redirection of planes, flight delays and others expenses.