A MAN told a flight attendant he wished all her family "burned" after a 'dispute' arose on a plane at Belfast International Airport about the improper wearing of a face mask, a court heard.
John Christopher McDonagh (37), unemployed, of Dobson's Way, Bessbrook, also called the crew member a "racist, f-cking wh-re," a prosecutor told Antrim Magistrates' Court, sitting in Ballymena.
The defendant admitted charges including behaving in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards an aircraft crew member; being an 'unauthorised' person on a plane; an 'apprehension' assault and being disorderly at Belfast International Airport on December 6 last year.
McDonagh appeared at court via a video link from his solicitor's office.
A prosecutor said at 7.05pm on December 6 police were called to a report of two passengers "refusing to leave an outbound aircraft".
She said police boarded the plane and cabin crew said the defendant and his wife were "being off-loaded following the dispute about them failing to wear their masks properly".
When the defendant began to collect his belongings he "became increasingly agitated and loud" and was warned a number of times about his behaviour but continued to shout and "direct abuse towards a female flight attendant, calling her a 'racist, fcking whre,' and wishing that all her family were burned".
The prosecutor said McDonagh was given a "final warning" but continued to shout at the flight attendant and was arrested.
He was handcuffed and escorted from the plane and he continued to "struggle" and "shout".
The prosecutor said the defendant's wife left the plane "peacefully".
The defendant, the court heard, had a previous record.
A defence solicitor said alcohol was an "issue" with McDonagh.
He said the defendant offered his apology for what happened and accepted his behaviour was "extremely unsavoury and unpleasant".
District Judge Nigel Broderick said the incident had been "aggravated by foul and abusive behaviour towards the flight attendant on the airplane".
The judge said a plane is a "very confined" space and the behaviour would have caused "a certain degree of unpleasantness among fellow passengers who were waiting to depart on the airplane".
He said he took a "dim view" of what happened.
He handed down a three months jail term, suspended for a year, and fined the defendant £300.
- Main picture: Belfast International Airport.