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The Wrong Way to Ask for Water on a Plane

The Wrong Way to Ask for Water on a Plane
Jackie Reddy

A British Airways (BA) passenger who attacked cabin crew on a flight to Cape Town from London last December because she was “thirsty” could face jail time, The Scotsman reports.

In a west London court on Wednesday, it was heard that single-mother Emma Langford became physically and verbally aggressive toward cabin crew on British Airways Flight 43 on December 6th, 2018, after being refused alcohol.

According to the prosecution, Langford approached the galley area in the craft and began raising her voice and behaving in an aggressive manner towards crew. Explaining the incident to the court, prosecutor Molda Gribbin stated that Langford said that, “…she had been on the plane for ages and was thirsty and wanted a drink. The manager asked the customer not to speak to his crew in such a fashion.”

Langford was Verbally and Physically Aggressive to Crew

When questioned by the crew manager, Langford denied that she had been drinking. The single mother was then given a bottle of water, but then shortly returned and again began to behave in an aggressive manner toward crew.

Langford was asked to calm down and go back to her seat, but the situation soon escalated. According to Gribbin, the 47-year-old, “…proceeded to run at a member of staff and chased them away. She grabbed the member of staff by both of her shoulders and pushed her into the door.”

“She was again told to sit down and calm down, but at this point she tipped out a tray of plates on the floor and some glasses…After this she approached the manager again and cornered him and he put his hand out to protect himself but she struck him two more times,” Gribbin explained.

“In relation of one of the other members of cabin crew she struck her a number of times too,” she added. The court then heard that Langford was physically restrained, given a violation notice and finally, taken off of the flight upon arrival in South Africa.

Victim Left “Humiliated”, Perpetrator Could Face Jail Time

Speaking in court about the impact of Langford’s behavior, one of the victims said that they felt “humiliated” by the incident.

Langford, who is said to have completed a mental health treatment course, has pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and has been bailed until January, when she will face sentencing. She could face up to two years in prison as a result of the incident.

Passing comments on behalf of the court, Pamela Ullstein, chairman of the bench, said, “The offense took place in a very confined space and the aircraft was airborne. It could have put other passengers at risk.”

View Comments (3)


  1. kate lied

    December 6, 2019 at 4:16 am

    old news – this happened a year ago.

  2. see2xu

    December 6, 2019 at 6:56 am

    It’s not clear to me what the offender’s status as a single mother has to do with anything. A married father, or an unmarried hermaphrodite behaving in this fashion ought to receive exactly the same sanction as Ms Langford. Would her hair colour or postal code be of any value, either?

  3. CatchFlightsNotFeelings

    December 6, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    OOH, a “violation notice”!

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