An Aer Lingus passenger who made cabin crew cry by lying that his mum had coronavirus has been jailed for two months.
Job van den Broek, 30, made the hoax claim after he was asked to put his phone down so staff could perform a safety demonstration before the flight to Dublin took off on Wednesday, March 11.
He refused to end the call for 10 minutes, delaying the flight and causing a ‘pandemonium’ among passengers.
He later reduced cabin crew to tears when he attempted to clear the air by saying that the reason he was using his phone was because his mother had the deadly coronavirus and he had been in contact with her.
The Dutch national had intended to travel from Amsterdam to LA to propose to his girlfriend. However, he was arrested at Dublin Airport and kept in a police cell over night.
He pleaded guilty to an air rage charge at Dublin District Court today.
Judge Conal Gibbons said his crime was unbelievable while the world was in a state of fear and anxiety because of Covid-19. He said there were few worse things he could have said in that moment, other than ‘there’s a bomb under the seat’.
The defendant, a trainee driving instructor, apologised in court and his lawyer said he was incredibly remorseful for his stupidity.
The court heard Van den Broek thought it was a joke and wanted to have his photo taken with gardaí and Health Safety Executive staff, who were also called when the flight landed in Dublin.
He said he was willing to donate €1,500 to the staff, but the judge said he could not buy his way out of trouble.