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Drunk Business Class ‘Racist’ Gets 6 Months

Drunk Business Class ‘Racist’ Gets 6 Months
Jeff Edwards

A British activist was sentenced to six months behind bars this week after entering a guilty plea to charges stemming from her now infamous drunken tantrum on a London-bound Air India flight. The Belfast native and refugee rights lawyer was videotaped threatening crew members and hurling racist insults after being denied additional wine in the business class cabin.

If international human rights attorney Simone Burns thinks the business class wine service on Air India is lacking, then she is really going to be disappointed with her upcoming prison experience. The disgraced refugee rights advocate was sentenced this week to six months behind bars as a result of entering a guilty to charges related to her racist and at times violent outburst on a Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR)-bound flight in November.

Video of the now infamous incident shows that the intoxicated business class flyer became incensed after being cut off from consuming additional alcoholic beverages by crew members. During the racist tantrum that followed, Burns hurled rapid-fire racist insults and eventually spat in a flight attendant’s face.

“Do you treat business class passengers like that? Who are international criminal lawyers for the Palestinian people?” Burns can be heard screaming at cabin crew members in the footage. “I work for all you f***ing people. The f***ing Rohingyas, the f***ing people of all Asia, for you, I’m an international criminal lawyer. Don’t get any money for it by the way. But you won’t give me a f***ing glass of wine, is that correct?”

Calling herself the “leader of the f***ing boycott movement,” the out-of-control business class passenger eventually threatened to set her sights on India’s national carrier if she wasn’t given a drink. “If I say boycott f***ing Air India, done,” she explained to the stone-faced crew members. “Do you understand me? You can’t give me a wee bottle of wine?”

She became even more irate when her ultimatum involving economic sanctions didn’t earn her a screw top bottle of pinot grigio and turned to personal attacks. She was caught on camera loudly calling a female flight attendant an “Indian f***ing money grabbing bastard.”

Now, according to The Irish Central, the 50-year-old human rights lawyer will serve a six-month prison sentence. She had previously entered a guilty plea to charges of assault and being drunk on a plane.

Not surprisingly, the lawyer was singing a much different tune at her sentencing hearing. Speaking through her attorney, Burns blamed her embarrassing behavior on “mixture of altitude, the consumption of drink, and anxiety.” Defense attorney Mark Kimsey told the court that his client was ashamed of her behavior.

“This is not a lady who has a drink problem,” Kimsey said. “This is not a woman who has a drug problem. This is totally out of character.”

While the judge seemed moved by Burns’ good works, he indicated that the seriousness of her crimes demanded an equally serious punishment.

“You are a woman, not just of good character but a positive and impeccable character, a righter of wrongs,” Judge Nicholas Wood said announcing the jail sentence. “What this has done, thanks to social media, you have had death threats and been a hermit in your home. The fact remains that you were drunk and obnoxious almost from the beginning to the end. You were abusive, contemptuous and confrontational and used appalling language.”

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (14)


  1. GetSetJetSet

    April 9, 2019 at 6:51 am

    Now people get jail time for hurting someone’s feelings? A truly frightening time to be alive. The woman was way out of line, but these are just words.

  2. fahrradman

    April 9, 2019 at 7:14 am

    Some people just shouldn’t drink alcohol.

  3. fahrradman

    April 9, 2019 at 8:04 am

    @GetSetJetSet The article does say she spat in a flight attendant’s face. That is more than “just words”.

  4. DutchessPDX

    April 9, 2019 at 10:59 am

    @GetSetJet, racist apologist much? Disrupting a flight, and spitting on a flight attendant isn’t just words.

  5. closecover

    April 9, 2019 at 11:17 am

    Yeah, the spitting was what forced this activity to be classified as criminal behavior, as the mere act of spitting may qualify as an assault. That single act completely undercuts GetJetSet’s entire argument.

  6. GetSetJetSet

    April 9, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Spitting on a flight attendant isn’t just words, agreed. Didn’t see that part. I only skimmed the article. When does it even get racial? The quoted rants seem like mostly just a drunk person complaining that they can’t get more alcohol.

  7. fahrradman

    April 10, 2019 at 5:11 am

    @GetSetJetSet You should probably read the article more carefully before making a comment. To quote the passenger, “I work for all you f***ing people. The f***ing Rohingyas, the f***ing people of all Asia, for you, I’m an international criminal lawyer. Don’t get any money for it by the way. But you won’t give me a f***ing glass of wine, is that correct?” Sounds pretty racist to me. I think your comments “A truly frightening time to be alive” and “Now people get jail time for hurting someone’s feelings?” seems to indicate sympathy to the passenger. I suggest in the future you read an article carefully before deciding to post.

  8. OUTraveling

    April 10, 2019 at 10:44 am

    I hope she likes pruno made from coffee sugar packets, smashed up fruit gummies, a orange peel, and some “questionable” yeast.

  9. RandyN

    April 10, 2019 at 11:22 am

    @GetSetJetSet If you don’t have time to read an article, you don’t have time to comment on it.

    Spitting aside, a passenger who abuses crew and disrupts a flight absolutely deserves jail time. Being a drunk mess has consequences.

  10. gabbai

    April 10, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    She deserved more than just six months. There is no reason why decent passengers on an airline should be subject to a drunk on board and that sort of disgusting language. More serious was her spitting at a flight attendant. Still, hopefully, she will have disciplinary action taken against her and be barred from ever acting as a lawyer again.

  11. weero


    April 11, 2019 at 1:57 am

    How our world has changed. A long while back, on KLM, we sat in front of a passenger who was ethanol fed too slowly for his needs.
    When my friend asked him to keep his voice down, he punched him. And he punched me when we reported the incident.
    The crew refused to file a report or to restrain him. They moved him, and kept feeding him wine.
    Upon touch down in AMS, we filed a police report and nothing ever came of it. The officer blamed us for being small minded.
    And now this lady gets 6 months for spitting? I hope this story is incomplete.

  12. mvoight

    April 11, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    weero – You could have sued KLM and the passenger.
    What did KLM say after you made a complaint to them after landing?

  13. sar7cee

    April 13, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Guess this exposes the hypocrisy of those who belong to the “rights” industry.

  14. eagle215

    April 24, 2019 at 6:45 am

    People who apologize with excuses are not apologies.

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