A DRUNKEN couple face jail after almost forcing a flight from Malaysia to be diverted when they swore at crew and passengers in a row over a broken TV screen.
Anthony Grant, 27, and Carola Conti, 26, banged chairs, spilled drinks, swore at fellow passengers and argued with cabin crew on the flight from Kuala Lumpur to London when they were asked to be quiet.
Once the Malaysian Airlines flight landed at Heathrow, the pair were arrested by police, but claimed they weren’t drunk and accused a staff member of calling Conti a “c**t”.
They were both charged with one count of entering an aircraft, which has a capacity of 494 passengers, drink and one count of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner towards a member of cabin staff on March 7.
At Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court today, Grant, wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and blue tie, and Conti dressed in a dark jacket, trousers and thick rimmed glasses both pleaded guilty to the charges which carry a maximum of two years jail.
Zara Khan prosecuting said: “Witnesses saw both drinking, being very loud and abusive to fellow passengers. They continued drinking swearing, banging chairs, spilling drinks and disturbing passengers around them.
“They caused such disruption people tried to move away from them. Crew told both to be quiet but received abuse from both.
“A statement from the pilot said that in 37 years of flying it was the first time he had given consideration to diverting the aircraft, that’s how abusive and disruptive they both were.”
Both Conti and Grant had been travelling in Cambodia but stayed nearly twice as long as they intended after he was bitten by a poisonous spider and needed hospital treatment.
Meena Shinh defending said: “They accept they consumed a couple of drinks but they say they weren’t drunk. They were not acting initially disruptive, both sat together but Miss Conti’s screen was not working and she was trying to get it to work.
“This would have caused passengers in front to feel like someone was knocking the chair. It was not her intention to do so, she was only trying to make it work.
“However for some reason one member of staff began being rude and swore at her. She says that although she was called a c**t.
“Nonetheless she accepts what should have happened was that she spoke to a member of staff, pulled them to one side and resolved it amicably.
“Both accept they were in the wrong. When they were told if you don’t stop arguing with staff we will stop the flight they stopped talking even to each other.
“These are not people who go out to deliberately cause arguments on flights.”
Chair of the bench, Benita Cox, sent the case to crown court, as count one was too serious to be sentenced at a magistrates’ court.
Conti, of Hove, East Sussex, and Grant, of Sevenoaks, Kent, will next appear at Isleworth Crown Court on May 9 to be sentenced.
Both were granted unconditional bail until the hearing.