Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

Easyjet bans football team manager for a decade after drunken flight brawl

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A football team manager has been banned from flying Easyjet for a decade after a drunken brawl with his colleague erupted onboard a flight.

Allan Sharp, 43, had gotten into a row with his colleague Grant Reid, 30, as passengers tried to exit the plane after arriving from Denmark to Edinburgh Airport.

The pair, who were among a group of workers heading back from Copenhagen, had come to blows after tensions had built due to redundancies announced by Sharp.

But Sharp’s lawyer said the dispute began as “football-related” and after “back and forth” between the men it escalated and “became more aggressive”.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard on Thursday how the flight caused concerns for safety as the argument had quickly spiralled into a fist fight with a baby nearby.

Sharp, of Barrhead near Glasgow, admitted conducting himself in a disorderly manner, shouting, swearing, acting aggressively, engaging in a stand-up fight, and committing a breach of the peace.

Reid, of Glasgow’s Castlemilk area, had faced the same charge but his not guilty plea was accepted by the Crown, reports Daily Record.

Fiscal depute Karima Stewart said the flight – with around 120 passengers onboard – had just landed at the airport at around 1.50pm and was an “unremarkable” journey.

Ms Stewart said cabin crew “became aware of a disturbance” and heard shouting and swearing at the rear of the plane where a “large group of work colleagues were sat in three rows”.

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She said two men were “pushing and punching each other” and easyJet workers – who were particularly concerned about an infant who was near the brawl – went to intervene.

The court heard Reid had blood on his face and the fight “continued for some time” with the cabin crew observing that Sharp was the “main instigator”.

Ms Stewart said the men were separated although the shouting and swearing continued and the police were called.

She added Sharp was taken to St Leonards police station following the disturbance on February 27 last year and spent a night in the cells.

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Defence agent Ross Gardner said the incident was a “matter of great regret” for Sharp, an instruction manager who was flying back with his team after a “fairly intense” two-week work schedule.

Mr Gardner said Sharp had been forced to tell four of his eight-strong team they were being made redundant shortly before the return journey although Reid wasn’t among them.

The solicitor said Reid had “consumed a large amount of alcohol” while his client had also been drinking.

Mr Gardner said a “football-related” conversation in the tense atmosphere had led to the trouble and Sharp was “thoroughly embarrassed”. He added: “Mr Sharp knows he would have caused anxiety in that captive environment.”

Sharp has been fined £760 and has been banned from Easyjet for a total of 10 years – his employers have been told to find alternative airlines to fly him to future jobs.

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