A Dunedin man has been handed a hefty fine after getting
drunk on a plane and having a lengthy natter on his phone as
the aircraft came in to land.
The 23-year-old was "more than moderately intoxicated" as he
travelled on Air New Zealand flight NZ679 from Auckland to
Dunedin last night, Senior Constable Brice Horner said.
The man was observed by other passengers having an extended
conversation on his mobile phone as the flight approached
Dunedin Airport. He claimed to have been playing games on the
device, but that was not supported by witness accounts, Mr
"But most importantly his phone was not in flight mode. It
was operating throughout that period of time and therefore
endangering the safety of the aircraft."
The pilot contacted police, who met the man at the airport
and issued a $1100 infringement notice - $600 for becoming
intoxicated on an aircraft and $500 for using a portable
"He was intoxicated but there are no reports that he was
behaving in an objectionable or a violent manner," Mr Horner
"It would fall into the category of being an error of
judgement due to his level of intoxication."
There were generally between one and 10 such cases each year
- enough to be of concern to police.
"I think most people heed the warnings. They are quite clear
and the cabin crew go to some effort to make them. I don't
think it's a major problem but it is an important rule to
follow and this is a timely reminder," Mr Horner said.
A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said the authority was
not requested to attend the incident.
He agreed that such incidents were not common but said it did
Air New Zealand declined to comment.
According to the airline's website, modern aircraft are
fitted with sensitive electronic equipment which can be
affected by some types of electronic equipment carried by
- Matthew Theunissen of APNZ