MELBOURNE // A drunken grandmother who punched a passenger in the face on a Qantas flight to New Zealand was Tuesday ordered to pay the cost of the aircraft having to return to Melbourne.
Frances Macaskill, 58, pleaded guilty in a Melbourne court to one charge of offensive and disorderly behaviour and another of assault.
She was fined Aus$3,500 (US$3,425) for the assault and given a four-month suspended jail term for the other charge.
The New Zealand national, who lives in Perth and was travelling to Wellington to see her children, was also ordered to pay Qantas Aus$18,245 - the cost to the airline of having to turn the flight back to where it took off.
The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard that Macaskill was heavily intoxicated and began punching seats and yelling profanities at passengers and crew on the flight on Saturday morning, Australian Associated Press reported.
She then hit a male passenger in the face with a closed fist when he asked her to be quiet, causing a deep cut to his face and heavy bleeding.
Macaskill was restrained by crew and handcuffed.
Magistrate Luisa Bazzani called her behaviour "appalling".
"That the plane had to be re-routed and returned to Melbourne because of your behaviour is in itself illustrative of the level of disruption that you caused," she said.