Woman who tried to open plane door mid-flight is jailed
PUBLISHED: 14:22 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:50 12 February 2020
A woman who tried to open a plane door mid-flight as passengers and cabin crew fought to restrain her - causing two RAF fighters to be scrambled - has been jailed for two years.
Chloe Haines shouted: "I'm going to kill you all" on the Jet2 flight, causing the aircraft to be escorted back to Stansted Airport at a cost to the firm of £86,000.
A sentencing hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court was told that Haines had been seen drinking from a bottle before she was seen "kicking and punching".
She later "lunged" at the door handle on the plane and tried to open it.
Prosecutor Michael Crimp said it was actually impossible to open the exit door mid-flight.
However many passengers did not know this, prompting one to say: "I honestly thought I was going to die."
The 26-year-old, of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, had already pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to endangering the safety of an aircraft and assaulting cabin crew member on the flight to Dalaman, in Turkey, on June 22 last year.
The cabin crew members suffered scratches as she tried to prevent Haines from opening the door.
Dressed in a white shirt and black top with her blonde hair in a ponytail, Haines sobbed through much of the hearing as she was jailed for two years.
Judge Charles Gratwicke said: "Those that are trapped in the confined space of the aircraft will inevitably be distressed, frightened and petrified by the actions of those who in a drunken state endanger their lives.
"For some it will be their worst nightmare come true."
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Haines had previously been convicted of a drink-driving offence and three counts of assaulting an emergency worker, which all happened in April 2019, 17 days before the incident.
She later said she "blacked out and didn't really remember what happened" after mixing alcohol with medication, said Mr Crimp.
Oliver Saxby QC, mitigating, said Haines has been diagnosed with mental ill health and has not touched alcohol since the day of the incident.
He said Haines is unemployed with no savings and goes to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings up to four times a week.
"She wasn't just drunk, she was unwell," he said.
He added: "She's appalled, she's ashamed, she's deeply embarrassed by what she did.
"She's disgusted with herself."
Chief Inspector Lee Devall, Stansted Airport's deputy commander, said: "This was a terrifying incident which left an entire plane, including experienced cabin crew members, in fear for their safety.
"If Haines had managed to open the door, there's no telling what might have happened to those on board.
"The cabin crew put their lives at risk to prevent the door from being opened, even though they were incredibly frightened. They showed immense bravery and should be commended.
"I would also like to thank the officer in charge of this case, Pc Philip Darts, for his hard work in collating the evidence against Haines.
"We will not tolerate dangerous or disruptive passengers. We appreciate that Haines has apologised profusely, and is mortified by her actions, but this must serve as a warning to anyone who drinks before boarding a flight - if you cause trouble, you will be arrested and we will seek an appropriate course of action to protect your fellow passengers."
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