Man Who Got So Drunk He Grounded Plane Ordered to Pay for Fuel

The 44-year-old British man has to pay WestJet nearly $22,000.
31 January 2019, 10:54pm
A plane and booze.
Photos via Pixabay

A British man who got so wasted and unruly on a WestJet flight that the plane was forced to turn around and land in Calgary has been ordered by a judge to pay for the fuel the plane was forced to dump in order to land safely.

That amount of fuel dropped? Oh, just the hefty sum of $21,260.68.

According to the CBC, on January 4, David Stephen Young, a 44-year-old man from the UK, had himself six drinks in the airport bar, boarded himself a plane headed to London and proceeded to get straight up unruly.

According to reports, the amount Young had put back affected his bladder, as it does, and he got up to go to the washroom when the plane was trying to take off and he was told to sit down, which he did. However, his obedience didn’t last for long and he soon attempted to force his way to the washroom again. Young apparently got into it with the flight crew and the passengers that surrounded him to such a degree that people started to worry.

After an hour in the air, Young wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down and, as the agreed statement of facts read, his actions left the flight crew “shaken and threatened by the Accused's behaviour (being verbally aggressive, swearing, shouting, fists clenched) enough so that the flight crew made the decision to turn the aircraft around to fly back into the YYC Calgary International Airport.”

There was a hiccup though—the plane was stocked with enough fuel to make a trip from western Canada across the Atlantic, meaning they had to jettison some of that in order to land safely. In total, they were forced to drop the fuel, fly in a circle for 45 minutes and, even with that, they were still over the maximum amount for landing when they touched down.

Despite the excess fuel, the plane landed safely and Young was escorted off the plane but still carried on not playing nicely. According to the agreed statement of facts, Young decided to pull from the playbook of an angry child and make his body hard to move.

“The Accused insisted that he be wheeled on a wheelchair to the [Canada Border Services Agency] Hall, officers fetched a wheelchair to accommodate his resistance,” reads the agreed statement of facts. “When the Accused was told to get up and sit on the wheelchair, he resisted by planking his body rigid to prevent being seated onto the wheelchair, or actively sliding out of the chair, making it impossible to transport him to the CBSA Hall using the wheelchair."

Eventually, though the officers were able to move Young and he was charged under the Aeronautics Act and the Criminal Code and spent seven days in the Calgary remand centre.

Young seemingly regrets his actions—he said he was a recovering alcoholic who relapsed after 18 months in the airport after being depressed by the death of a family member—and promptly plead guilty to the charge against him. The prosecutor in the case had originally asked for the judge for $60,000 in restitution to WestJet but the judge said he didn’t want to ruin Young.

So, finding a compromise, Judge Brian Stevenson decided that he would just pay money for the jettisoned fueled—in total, when one takes into account passenger compensation, Young’s actions cost WestJet around $200,000.

This story has been updated to include quotes from the agreed statement of facts.

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This article originally appeared on VICE CA.