A Dunedin woman who bit one flight attendant and kicked
another in the testicles should have been given a prison
sentence for her ''horrific outburst'', a flight attendant
Tara Anne MacKay (28), also known as Tara Anne Laidler, was
sentenced in the Dunedin District Court this week to 300
hours' community work and 12 months' supervision and
That sentence was for a drunken rampage on an Air New Zealand
flight to Bali with her partner last year.
MacKay, who was not at her home yesterday, admitted biting a
female flight attendant, leaving her with a suspected
hairline fracture, while kicking a male attendant forcibly in
Flight Attendants and Related Services (NZ) Association Inc
general secretary Peter Bentley, of Auckland, said the
incident was not an isolated one. However, most were ''near
''It is not an isolated incident but the degree of harm this
person brought is definitely isolated.
''Most of the time crew are really good at deflating the
situation through talking with the people,'' the former
flight services manager said.
Passengers consuming their own duty-free alcohol when staff
were not looking happened regularly, and was difficult for
flight attendants to monitor.
Mr Bentley said he had had only one incident involving
alcohol while flying, when he was ''faced off'' by a
passenger after the plane ran out of beer.
''He got a bit uppity about it, but it was just a matter of
talking common sense.''
He suspected the woman may not have flown much, and was not
aware of the effects of alcohol being exacerbated while
Mr Bentley said he was not happy with the community work
sentence handed down as ''that was a pretty horrific
A prison sentence would have been a deterrent to others, he
''There needs to be a message sent to remind people that the
constraints of being up there [in the air] puts all of those
passengers' safety in jeopardy.
The union, which represents 1900 flight attendants, was
''very disappointed with the incident and we hope it never
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the airline welcomed the
sentence, but declined to comment on specific security