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Woman jailed in UK over air rage incident

A 38-year-old British mother of two was last week jailed for three months for hurling drunken abuse at terrified passengers on an Air Malta flight to Heathrow last August.

The newspaper Slough Express reported that Janine Cooper, 38, of Swallowdale, Iver Heath, was on her way back from a holiday in Malta with her husband on August 28 when she became abusive to other passengers.

It was reported that Ms Cooper began her torrent of abuse when the passenger sitting in front of her reclined her seat about 30 minutes into the flight.

The court report from the Isleworth Crown Court said that the defendant kicked the seat shouting "is that hurting you?" followed by a lot of foul and abusive language.

Both Ms Cooper and her husband were arrested upon arrival at Heathrow and when they appeared before Uxbridge Magistrates Court Mr Cooper was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs. But his wife was committed to Crown Court for sentence.

Jailing her for three months, Judge Sam Katkuda, said: "Your behaviour was appalling. Travelling on a plane places a special duty on passengers to behave in a reasonable and orderly manner.

"You are in a small metal tube high up in the sky and a relatively small incident could have catastrophic consequences."

When contacted, Captain Denis Caruana, who is also manager of safety on board, said that Air Malta had a specific discipline-passenger policy to deal with such incidents.

Capt. Caruana, who happened to be a passenger on board that flight, said the incident came to a head just after the flight had landed at Heathrow.

"Ms Cooper stood up to get her luggage from the overhead racks before the plane ground to a halt and the purser immediately asked her to sit down for her own safety," he said.

"She refused to sit down and started making violent gesticulations and passing derogatory remarks towards the people who were sitting in front of her.

"The captain relayed the information to the British police who escorted the Coopers away on arrival," he said.

Capt. Caruana said he was on board that day by coincidence, and any other Air Malta staff would have done the same to bring the situation under control.

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