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An Infamous In-Flight Outburst Leads to a Shocking Suicide

An Infamous In-Flight Outburst Leads to a Shocking Suicide
Jackie Reddy

A human rights lawyer committed suicide earlier this year following a racist outburst on an Air India flight back in November of 2018. Simone Burns was arrested upon arrival in London and, despite concerns over the state of her mental health, was jailed for six months. She died on June 1st of 2019.

It has been revealed that a human rights lawyer committed suicide earlier this summer following her racist and violent outburst on an Air India flight in November of 2018, The Sun reports. Simone Burns, 50, was imprisoned as a result of the incident, which saw her spit at, swear and scream at members of cabin crew on-board London-bound Air India Flight 131 from Mumbai last fall.

Burns’ outburst began after crew allegedly refused to serve her a fourth bottle of wine. She was arrested immediately upon landing at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).

During an inquest into her death, it was reported that Burns had told her doctor that she believed that her drink had been spiked while she was on the flight, thus triggering her behavior. Burns – despite having made her concerns known to her doctor–was given a six-month jail sentence.

It was also revealed during the inquest that there were concerns over her mental health, with family members describing her behavior as “erratic” in the time before her death. Burns’ family had also asked for her health to be assessed, but no such assessment was ever undertaken during her time in prison.

On June 1st of this year, the outlet reports that a member of the public saw Burns sitting on a cliff close to the English seaside town of Eastbourne. It is reported that Burns jumped off of the cliff in an apparent suicide.

Speaking out about the lack of care shown to Burns during her imprisonment, her family stated, “In our view, an opportunity to help her was missed.”

View Comments (8)


  1. pagophilus

    November 10, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    So? What do we do now? Not punish people because they might kill themselves? She made the choice to drink too much, she made a total for of herself on the plane, her behaviour likely ruined her career. She is to blame, and she deserved to be jailed. Drink spiking? How and by whom? At some point one has to take responsibility for one’s actions. She did. She could have done it another way, but obviously the reputational damage had been done and she couldn’t face up to that.

  2. Grog

    November 13, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    So, you ask? What do we do now, you ask? I guess we make heartless posts like yours since we were all on that plane and earned the right to pass judgment over her.

  3. Cotumely

    November 15, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Pagophilus, totally agree. Nobody nowadays takes any responsibility for their behaviour; it’s always somebody else’s fault.

  4. arcticflier

    November 15, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Should have just pacified her with another small bottle of wine.

  5. Qatar Airways

    November 16, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Smashed the bottle over her head,some would say!
    But NOT me.

  6. ThePopes

    November 16, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Im sure most flyertalk posters know alcohol hits you harder on a plane due to the decreased air pressure and the effects of hypoxia. Some people don’t read flyertalk or know much about planes though so they may miss judge their tolerance to alcohol and the effects of hypoxia causing them to drink too much and get in a bad situation. I feel sorry for people who drink too much and go on a rant on a plane or do something criminal because they have lost control of their body and mind. I believe people are responsible for their own actions however the person serving the alcohol should execute some judgement and stop serving before a person is incapacitated. Maybe hard limits on alcohol serving on planes? Good that the FA’s stopped serving when they did as it would be dangerous to allow this person to continue drinking.

  7. thebug622

    November 17, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    6 months of prison for a drunken racial outburst seems extreme unless she had a ongoing problem,Anyhow the judge should have seen to it that she a mental health review befor her sentence was given

  8. CDTraveler

    November 17, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    The issue here is not that the woman was punished for her actions but that while she was in jail there was no assessment of her physical and mental health despite a request from her family. Her outburst on the plane may have been a sign of mental illness, and it sounds as if there were enough other signs that her family requested an assessment. The tragedy is that a timely assessment which could have prevented her suicide wasn’t done when that should be a standard part of prison sentence for erratic behavior.

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