A mother who attacked three flight attendants after being denied alcohol on her way to a drying out clinic in South Africa has been given a suspended sentence.
Emma Langford had to be handcuffed and strapped to her seat after the confrontation, which a court heard started when she was denied the Bloody Mary cocktail.
Langford, of Old Basing, Hampshire, had been in a “difficult time” after the breakdown of her marriage, the court heard.
She has admitted three charges of assault, one count of criminal damage, one of being drunk on an aircraft and threatening, abusive, insulting and disorderly manner towards cabin crew.
Judge Nicholas Wood sentenced Langford to a total of 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday.
He said: “There is no escape route at 30,000 feet.
“I’ve no doubt whatsoever there were passengers on that plane that were fearful of their lives over what you might do.”
He also told her to pay £1,000 compensation to three victims and £1,000 in costs.
The 47-year-old mother-of-two was flying from Heathrow to Cape Town with her son on British Airways to check herself into an alcohol rehabilitation centre, Isleworth Crown Court was told during a hearing in January.
Half an hour after take-off, Langford told cabin crew she was “thirsty” and demanded a large amount of alcohol, but after being given water she returned to abuse staff.
The court heard she asked if they could afford her £8,000 seats and called two female stewards fat before punching two members of the crew.
She later shoved a third staff member and threw a tray of plates and glasses to the floor, with one of the shards cutting a crew member’s leg.
Prosecuting, Douglas Adams said: “They restrained her and gave her a violation notice to which she said “blah, blah, blah”.
“She was later carried out using the approved techniques but she struggled and the staff were helped by an off duty police officer.”
A crew member told the court in a statement: “She called me chubby and fat arse. It was massively offensive and hurt my confidence. I felt humiliated in front of the whole cabin.”
Guy Wyatt, defending, said: “It’s striking that she was travelling to (South Africa) to book herself into residential rehabilitation.
“She knew she needed it, she made enquiries and had been told that this particular clinic was best and was on her way.
“She was going through a difficult time because of a few things. The consequences of the breakdown of her marriage, anxieties of whether the children would be living with her or not.
“Those anxieties got the better of her and she crashed catastrophically into heavy drinking – something that she had done before.”
He told the court Langford had been in rehab and stayed sober since her release.
The last hearing was adjourned until today so the judge could see the results of a bracelet that monitors her blood alcohol levels through sweat.