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Drunk who called flight steward a 'poof' is jailed


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Drunk who called flight steward a 'poof' is jailed



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 11:30 AM on 29th September 2009





article-0-069CE6A2000005DC-83_233x423.jpg Abusive: Grant Smith admitted a charge of drunkenness on an airline and calling an air steward a 'poof'


A drunken holidaymaker who called an air steward 'a poof' during a transatlantic flight was jailed yesterday.


Grant Smith, 36, was abusive and aggressive towards cabin crew after drinking heavily before and during a delayed New Year's Eve flight from Manchester to the Dominican Republic, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Adam Lodge, prosecuting, said Smith was one of several passengers whose bad behaviour caused the plane to be diverted to Bermuda after it took off three hours late.


The court heard that Smith, who was accompanied by his girlfriend and another couple, drank alcohol he carried on to the Thomson Airways 133 flight on December 31 last year.


Mr Lodge said that problems began an hour into the flight when air steward Tim Burrows' wallet was taken by some of the 253 passengers and thrown around the cabin of the Boeing 767.


Smith retrieved the wallet and handed it back to Mr Burrows but became abusive and demanded food, the court heard.


He told Mr Burrows he had 'shown him up' and received an apology from him, Mr Lodge said.


Smith also got into an argument with his friend, before being issued with two formal warning letters by the captain, which he ripped up.


Mr Lodge said: 'He was also found by a door, saying, "I'm not sure what I'll do, I'll f*****g kill somebody', or words to that effect."


Smith and six other passengers - who were not charged - were removed from the aircraft when it landed in Bermuda.


Mr Lodge said the incident cost the airline around £50,000.


article-1216829-05F5E8330000044D-297_468x286.jpg Air drama: A Thomson Boeing 767 aircraft like the one which had to be diverted because of the drunken disruption at a cost of £50,000


Jon Oultram, defending, said his client admitted calling Mr Burrows a 'poof' but denied it was expressed as a homophobic comment.


He said: 'It's a phrase that's used in some areas less for comment on someone's sexuality but more on the way they're behaving.'


Mr Oultram said Smith, a single father whose teenage daughter is expecting a child, had gone on holiday to 'get away from everything at home' following the death of a close friend.






He said Smith was not the only rowdy passenger and was subjected to threats by a group of passengers from Liverpool.

Mr Oultram said: 'On sober reflection he accepts he handled it badly. If it hadn't been for the fact he was drunk much, or all, of what happened would not have taken place.'


Passing sentence, Judge Elgan Edwards told Smith: 'Passengers and crew travelling on aircraft are entitled to do so without being confronted by drunken behaviour carried out by people like yourself.'


Judge Edwards said homophobic comments were 'not acceptable' and said he hoped to see him banned from flying with the airline.


He jailed Smith, of Burnley, Lancashire, for ten and a half months.

A charge of interfering with staff and cabin crew was withdrawn by the prosecution.

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