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Heavy fines for air rage granny

Published: 5:55AM Tuesday June 05, 2012 Source: AAP

A New Zealand who caused a New Zealand-bound Qantas flight to turn back to Melbourne with an outburst of drunken violence and foul language has been ordered to pay the airline $18,000 for the disruption.
Frances Lillian Macaskill, 58, was heavily intoxicated when she began punching seats and yelling profanities at passengers and crew on board the Qantas flight that left Melbourne Airport on Saturday morning, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard.
She then punched a male passenger in the face with a closed fist, causing a 6cm abrasion to the right side of his face and heavy bleeding.
The NZ national, who lives in Western Australia and was travelling to Wellington to see her children, was handcuffed and restrained across the shoulders as she continued to headbutt the seat in front of her.
Macaskill pleaded guilty to assaulting the passenger and behaving in an offensive and disorderly manner on the flight.
Sentencing Macaskill today, Magistrate Luisa Bazzani said she inflicted her behaviour on passengers who had no way of escaping.
"Those passengers affected by your appalling behaviour were unable to remove themselves from the situation," she said.
"That the plane had to be rerouted and returned to Melbourne because of your behaviour is in itself illustrative of the level of disruption that you caused.
"The assault by you of a fellow passenger without any provocation is particularly concerning."
Macaskill, a disability pensioner, was given a four-month jail term, wholly suspended, for the charge of offensive behaviour and was convicted and fined $3500 for the assault.
She was also ordered to pay Qantas' costs of returning the flight back to Melbourne, of $18,245.
Qantas has banned Macaskill from its flights for at least 10 years and said the court penalties should send a message to others that the airline and the Australian Federal Police would not tolerate this type of behaviour.
"This should act as a reminder to passengers of all airlines that there are significant consequences for disruptive and violent behaviour on aircraft," a spokesman said.
He said the ban applied to any Qantas group aircraft, which included Jetstar and New Zealand-based subsidiary JetConnect.
The court heard Macaskill had been penalised for a similar incident on board a Virgin flight in April last year.
She was fined $110 for offensive and disorderly behaviour and smoking on board.
Bazzani warned Macaskill that she would likely go to jail if she displayed similar behaviour on any flight in the future.