A drunken father of three who scared other passengers on board a plane has been banned from Ryanair for life. John Medway, who had traveled home from a family holiday, later described himself as only “five out of ten” drunk – but the court heard he had drunk three quarters of a liter bottle of vodka. Liverpool’s Magistrates’ Court heard that the 32-year-old should not only be banned from Ryanair flights, but also from the city’s John Lennon Airport.
District Judge Wendy Lloyd told him, “You’ve decided to drink way too much, knowing you’re on a flight. No one had anywhere to go, people were trapped in a tin box high in the sky and couldn’t get away from you,” she told him.
“It must have been a terrifying experience for the people on that plane, the staff and other passengers. Even when you were handcuffed you continued your atrocious behavior and you were warned numerous times and the staff on board gave you every opportunity to calm down.
“Your suggestion that you were only five out of ten drunk on probation is clearly nonsense as you were clearly drunk and even now other Manchester passengers and the police are trying to blame your behaviour. You don’t seem to fully understand that this was all due to your bad behavior.
“You have a number of prior convictions in 2019, including binge drinking and disorderly conduct, suggesting you have an ongoing problem with alcohol. You’ve been working as a truck driver for a while – for someone with a drinking problem which is quite concerning.”
Judge Lloyd said the probation report said that “despite his 32 years and his full-time job, in many ways you are an immature man and incapable of taking responsibility for your own behaviour.
“You definitely should. You have a wife who has some health issues and you have three kids.”
She told him that society cannot tolerate the kind of behavior he showed on the plane. “One can only imagine how others on board that flight must have felt.”
The judge said a 20-week jail sentence was appropriate, but as the Probation Service felt they could work with him in a positive way, it would suspend that sentence for 12 months. She also ordered him to perform 240 hours of unpaid work and 30 hours of rehabilitation activities and pay the costs totaling £274.
“This is your chance to turn your life around. You are a man of contrasts – hard working, a family man and the occasional ridiculous behavior and booze seem to be behind all these incidents.”
Medway, of Breck Road, Poulton, Wallasey, Wirral, had pleaded guilty to entering a flight while intoxicated.
Laura Simpson, prosecutor, had told the court that the incident took place on January 12 this year on a flight from Fuerteventura to Liverpool. The cabin crew manager related how a passenger told her an hour into the flight that there had been an altercation between Medway and his wife, who were with their three children.
The quarreling couple was separated and for ten minutes Medway was calm, but the manager then had to speak to him again because his behavior got worse, Miss Simpson said.
“A passenger told her that he had been drinking tax-free and that a liter bottle of vodka he had was three-quarters empty. He agreed to calm down, but a short time later stood up to insult other passengers, shout at them and provoke them into a response. He couldn’t sit still.”
Miss Simpson said the manager had told the captain and it was decided that as the aircraft was only 45 minutes from Liverpool they would continue the flight and not divert.
The manager said how passengers were upset by Medway’s behavior and in 14 years of working as a cabin crew “this was one of the worst experiences I’ve had. He was drunk, aggressive and threatened other passengers and staff. It was very disturbing.”
Police repeatedly tried to calm him down as the plane landed and he was arrested and had to be helped off the plane because he couldn’t hold on to the handrails.