Africa: Mid-Air drama as ‘thirsty’ single mum attacks cabin crew, makes ‘massively offensive’ comments in drinks row
A ‘thirsty’ single mum attacked three cabin crew members when they refused to serve her alcohol on board a jumbo jet.
Emma Langford, 47, admitted attacking British Airways staff on the flight to South Africa, punching the manager and kicking another in the back of the legs while screaming: “You have a massive a*se.”
The mum-of-two then pulled out trays of stowed plates and glasses, causing them to shatter on the floor and cutting another member of staff before pummelling cabin crew.
She eventually had to be restrained with the help of an off-duty police officer on the flight before being carried off the plane when it touched down in Cape Town.
Langford was warned she could face jail.
She was due to stand trial after first denying three charges of assault, but changed her pleas to guilty.
Langford had previously pleaded guilty to charges of criminal damage, being drunk on an aircraft, and behaving in a threatening, abusive, insulting and disorderly manner towards cabin crew.
Molda Gribbin, prosecuting, said trouble flared on board the BA043 Boeing 747-300 flight from London Heathrow to Cape Town on December 6 last year when a male and two female members of the crew were assaulted.
She told the court: “Other passengers and members of staff were disrupted and alarmed by her behaviour. About 30 minutes after take-off the defendant came to the galley and she raised her voice and was agitated.
“She was saying that she had been on the plane for ages and was thirsty and wanted a drink.
“The manager asked the customer not to speak to his crew in such a fashion.
“He could smell alcohol on her and so asked if she had been drinking, but she said ‘no’. He gave her a bottle of water and she went back to her seat.”
Gribbin continued: “A few moments later she approached him again with what he said was ‘her chest puffed out.
“She was saying she had paid £4, 000 for a seat and £8,000 for two and asked if he could afford that amount but he said he would not comment. He was becoming increasingly concerned about the defendant’s behaviour.
“She was asked to calm down and return to her seat, but she proceeded to run at a member of staff and chased them away.
“She grabbed the member of staff by both of her shoulders and pushed her into the door. “Further commotion occurred and she was seen assaulting another person.
“She was again told to sit down and calm down, but at this point she tipped out a tray of plates on the floor and some glasses.
“As the crockery was breaking it caused a small cut on another member of staff.
“After this, she approached the manager again and cornered him and he put his hand out to protect himself but she struck him two more times.
“In relation to one of the other members of cabin crew, she struck her a number of times too.
“They restrained her and gave her a violation notice to which she said ‘blah, blah, blah’.
“She was later carried out using the approved techniques, but she struggled and the staff were helped by an off-duty police officer.”
A statement from one of her victims, read to the court, said: “She kicked me in the back of the legs and said ‘your a*se is massive.’
“She called me chubby and fat arse. It was massively offensive and hurt my confidence. I felt humiliated in front of the whole cabin.”
The court heard how Langford had since received treatment from mental health servicesand had gone through a rehab program.
Anil Vij, in mitigation, said: “She has been deemed to have completed the rehabilitation. She wants to put this behind her.”
But magistrates branded her actions “so serious” she could face up to two years in prison, and will have to be sentenced at a crown court.
Langford stood in the dock wearing a grey turtle neck jumper, dark trousers, and gold earrings.
She spoke only to confirm her name, address, date of birth, and nationality as well as entering three guilty pleas.
Chairman of The Bench Pamela Ullstein told her: “The offence took place in a very confined space and the aircraft was airborne.
“It could have put other passengers at risk.”
Langford was bailed until her sentencing hearing on January 3 where she would face up to two years in prison.
By William Janes