A British woman has been jailed for six months after being found guilty of assaulting cabin crew and passengers onboard an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Manchester last year. Demi Burton, 20, assaulted cabin crew after being refused more alcohol and had to be held down by six crew members and passengers before she was arrested by law enforcement on arrival at Manchester airport on May 9, last year.
“It was a stressful situation but whilst I managed to remain calm and professional, it’s not acceptable for crew members to be treated this way and not fair on the other passengers to witness things like this,” cabin crew member Fouzia Naim said in a statement read out to the court.
Burton was allegedly already drunk when she boarded the plane in Abu Dhabi while travelling back home after spending six months in Australia. During the flight she made sexually lewd comments to other passengers and asked the men sat around her if they would like to join “the mile high club”.
When her behaviour only got worse, cabin crew decided to cut her off from drinking anymore red win prompting Burton to tell them: “You may as well just land the plane now then,” before launching a four-hour rampage.
One member of cabin crew was bitten on the arm and headbutted in the jaw, while a consultant anaesthetist travelling as a passenger was also bitten and headbutted as he helped the crew restrain Burton.
Judge John Edwards told Burton that she had to be “dealt with in a way that might deter others” as he sentenced her to six months in prison.
“Good order on any flight, in particular a long-distance one, is essential and those who undermine that put that at risk by behaving in such crass way,” the judge said.
Burton’s defence attorney had told the court her client was “thoroughly ashamed” and “remorseful” explaining her behaviour was out of character and likely fuelled by the alcohol she had consumed because she was a nervous flier.
The young defendant had previously been pictured outside the courthouse in Manchester making swearing gestures at press photographers.