Emma Langford, 47, appeared before Uxbridge Magistrates’ court today and admitted to being drunk on an aircraft.
She also admitted to behaving in a threatening manner towards staff and a charge of criminal damage – but she denies assaulting members of the cabin crew, the court heard.
The incident took place on December 6 last year on a British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Cape Town, South Africa.
The businesswoman had to be restrained in her seat during the 11-and-a-half hour flight after allegedly attacking cabin crew mid-air.
The cabin crew manager on the flight claimed that Langford “smelt of alcohol” and “puffed her chest out” and started to punch him because he wouldn’t serve her alcohol.
Langford also smashed crockery on the flight but claims the criminal damage was not deliberate.
“She said she had been on the aircraft for ‘ages’ and wanted something to drink”
Matthew Richardson statement
The court heard how Langford approached staff on British Airways flight BA043 just 30 minutes after take-off.
Zara Khan, prosecuting, read a statement from flight crew member Matthew Richardson to the court claiming Langford was behaving “erratically” and smelt of alcohol.
Miss Khan said: “He says he works as a customer service manager for British Airways. He says ‘I and several colleagues were assaulted by a disorderly passenger who later had to be forcibly restrained.”
According to the charges, Langford assaulted Mr Richardson – the cabin crew manager – as well as two other employees, Monique Foulger and Poppy Haynes.
In the statement Mr Richardson wrote: “Around 30 minutes after take off Miss Langford came to the galley area of the aircraft where I was working.
“She said she had been on the aircraft for ‘ages’ and wanted something to drink.
“I informed her the bar was about to commence, I could smell alcohol on her so I asked her if she had already been drinking.
“She said she had not. I gave her a bottle of water and asked her to sit down. A few minutes later the same customer returned back to the area demanding a drink.
“She approached me with a puffed up chest and was behaving erratically.
The court heard Langford returned to her seat, but again returned to ask for a drink.
Staff say they asked her to return to her seat and did not initially take further action because flight crew said handing her a violation notice may “aggravate her further”.
“A short while later she got up again in the galley area shouting more abuse at me and my colleagues. She tipped up a drawer full of plates onto the floor and lifted trays of glasses onto the floor causing some of them to break.
“She struck at me a few times on my hands and arms. The flight crew issued us with a violation notice for the customer.
“I explained this to her and she then ripped this up and responded: ‘blah blah blah’ and had to remain restrained in the seat for the rest of the journey.”
Meena Shinh, defending, said Langford denies assaulting the cabin crew and that “any touching would have been when I was being restrained”.
Chair of the bench Kamran Zubair said: “Miss Langford you have heard your case is listed for trial on the 12 and 13 August.
“There are six charges, three of them you pleaded guilty to, those will be sentenced at the close of your trial.”
Langford, of Hook, Hampshire, denied three counts of assault by beating and admitted one count of criminal damage, one count of being drunk on an aircraft and one count of behaving in a threatening manner towards aircraft crew.
She is due to appear at the same court in August for a two-day trial.