A Sunderland holidaymaker whose 'aggressive and abusive' behaviour forced a New Year's Day flight to divert to Ireland has been forced to pay compensation to a major airline.
Claire Sanderson had been a passenger on board a Jet2.com flight from Tenerife to Newcastle when her 'disruptive' behaviour and abuse directed at the crew left the captain of the plane with no choice but to divert to Shannon Airport, Ireland, where she was removed from the aircraft.
This week, Sunderland County Court ordered the 42-year-old to pay compensation to Jet2.com for losses incurred as a result of the airline having to divert the flight, which caused a two-hour delay for other passengers.
Sunderland County Court confirmed to the Echo that Jet2.com were awarded £2,213.95.
Jet2.com said Sanderson has also been given a lifetime ban.
A statement from the airline read: "Jet2.com’s campaign to tackle unacceptable onboard behaviour has received another boost following a successful court judgement against disruptive passenger, Claire Sanderson.
"Sanderson was abusive to crew and became so aggressive that the captain felt he had no choice but to divert the aircraft to Shannon Airport, Ireland.
"In order to protect the safety of everyone onboard, Sanderson was offloaded on arrival in Shannon and handed over to the local police, with the unscheduled diversion causing a two-hour delay for customers.
"The Court had no hesitation in judging in Jet2.com’s favour and has ordered Sanderson to repay the airline for losses incurred."
Phil Ward, Managing Director of Jet2.com said: “This is the second court ruling in our favour in less than a week, which should send out a strong message to anybody who thinks that they can get away with acting in an unacceptable and aggressive fashion onboard – this behaviour will not be tolerated and we will continue to take action to recover our losses.
"Mrs Sanderson must now accept the consequences of her actions, which caused both inconvenience and distress for other customers as well as our crew.
"As a family friendly airline carrying millions of holidaymakers, many of whom our families, we will not tolerate this on our flights.”
A statement from the airline added: "Jet2.com’s Onboard Together initiative commits the airline to a zero tolerance stance against disruptive passenger behaviour, including banning the sale of alcohol onboard all flights before 8am.
"This has been well received by both our crew and customers and we call upon airports to adopt the same rule as well as introducing tamper proof bags for the sale of alcohol at duty free shops.
"Since launching, more than 500 disruptive passengers have been refused travel and over 60 of these, including Claire Sanderson, have been given lifetime bans."