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.
January 30, 2019, 6:28pm
A plane and booze.
Photos via Pixabay

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

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 [$16,097 USD].

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 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 bathroom 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 bathroom 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 the decision was made to return to Calgary. 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 arrested. He was charged under the Aeronautics Act and the Criminal Code and spent seven days in a Calgary correctional facility.

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 [$45,429 USD] 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 [$151,429 USD].

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.