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Drunk Passenger Causes Emergency Landing



An EasyJet flight from Manchester, England to Iceland was forced to make an emergency landing in Edinburgh, Scotland when a drunken passenger exhibited violent and bizarre behavior mid-flight.

The passenger was charged Monday for the January 28 incident with disorderly conduct, acting in a manner likely to endanger others and uttering threats of violence and racial remarks.

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The ordeal started when Matthew Flaherty drank an entire bottle of liquor he had brought in his carry-on bag. The drunk 44-year old then began to verbally harass a female passenger seated close by. The passenger ignored him, but this further angered Flaherty, who then reportedly told the woman to “f— off” and threatened to “kill her family.”

When flight attendants stepped in to calm the situation, Flaherty directed his anger toward them, allegedly telling one flight crew member, “I am going to kill you if you do not shut up.” The pilot was then informed of the situation and decided to land in Edinburgh.

Flaherty’s conduct didn’t end there, however. On the descent, the man allegedly began to take apart his own smartphone and chew on the pieces. The phone’s battery fell onto his seat and began to smolder. A flight attendant placed the battery in a cup of water to prevent a fire.

Upon landing, Flaherty was escorted off the plane where Scottish police were waiting to arrest him. However, Flaherty continued his tirade, threatening and throwing racial slurs at the officers.

Flaherty pleaded guilty on Monday and faces possible jail time. According to his defense attorney, his behavior was caused by a combination of alcohol and prescribed painkillers.

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Expect Airlines to Supply Fewer Options and Higher Fares After COVID-19



While many in the air travel industry are, of course, hoping for a swift and complete rebound in passenger traffic once the COVID-19 crisis finally comes under control, others aren’t as optimistic.

In fact, aviation analysts are saying that the diminished demand for air travel brought on by the coronavirus pandemic will likely persist for quite some time, even once the threat of contagion has passed.

CNN Business’ coverage looked back at the commercial aviation industry’s path to recovery after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, pointing out that passenger traffic didn’t fully bounce back until 2004. And, in the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, it wasn’t until 2013 that passenger traffic again reached the levels seen in 2007, just prior to the recession. The slumps seen in air traffic during those two crises were just a fraction of what the world has witnessed over the past four weeks.

It’s likely to take a long time for passenger air traffic to rebound from this unprecedented downturn, even once people are able to start flying again. As airlines resume operations, they’ll be selective about the routes they maintain and reduce frequency in order to fill more seats per plane, which will lead to higher fares than were seen before the crisis.

Chief credit analyst for airlines for S&P Global, Philip Baggaley, explained that, as airlines return fewer planes to service and fill those in operation to maximum capacity, many of the low-costs seats that fliers once enjoyed booking will vanish. “Fewer seats flying means fewer cheap seats at the margin,” he said.

“There’s going to be fewer airplanes. That means less flying,” industry consultant, Mike Boyd, told CNN Business. “So, there’s going to be less choice, and you’ll be paying more. There’s no way around that.”

Historically, major economic blows to the industry have resulted in bankruptcies and mergers for the airlines. Prior to the 9/11 attacks, there had been nine major U.S. carriers, which afterward merged into today’s four major carriers, which last year accounted for 80 percent of passengers flown aboard U.S. airlines: American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines.

It’s possible, then, that a new wave of airline failures and mergers is on the horizon, especially given that the $50-billion federal bailout promised to the industry won’t even cover the near-$65 billion in revenue that U.S. airlines would have otherwise collected, even if they only matched last year’s numbers.

“In the near term, we’re going to see a shakeout,” said Joe Schwieterman, a transportation expert and professor at DePaul University in Chicago. “The weaker players may not survive this. Most industry leaders are expecting a long, painful recovery.”

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