Passengers behaving badly: Miss Clare Irby


Unlike the male codfish, which, suddenly finding itself the parent of three million five hundred thousand little codfish, cheerfully resolves to love them all, the British aristocracy is apt to look with a somewhat jaundiced eye on its younger sons.

— Wodehouse, P.G. Heavy Weather.  London:  Herbert Jenkins, 1933.

That prejudicial view is well-founded, apparently.  Once upon a time the plutocrats took it upon themselves to be decorous in public; those days are long past.

On March 26th Miss Irby, a descendant of the well-known Guinness clan, was a passenger aboard Kingfisher Airlines Flight 001, an Airbus A330-200 flying from Bombay to London.  She is alleged to have become drunk, publicly amorous with a fellow passenger (who was travelling with his girlfriend), and ignored her crying child, whose diapers had to be changed by the cabin crew.  The fellow’s girlfriend woke up, saw Ms. Irby and her boyfriend canoodling, and freaked out, causing the flight crew to request the Metropolitan Police attend the aircraft’s arrival.

Shivaneji Sharma, a flight attendant, told the jury Miss Irby had drunk three to four glasses of wine in the first 90 minutes of the flight and added: “Her speech was slurred. She was asking for more and more red wine.

“She had absolutely no clue about the child and the way she was behaving was not tipsy, but drunk.”

[Prosecutor Mr. Bill] McGivern said that at one point Miss Irby took off her skirt, revealing her black G-string, before changing into a pair of leggings in her seat in row 26 near the back of the aircraft.

…[Flight attendant Ms. Arpita Mehra] said: “She was travelling with her kid and she was not in a state that could take care of her child.

“The child was all on his own and was crying in the cabin. She was busy with the guest sitting behind her.

“They were having a conversation and getting personal with each other and the child was crying.

“The man was leaning forward and grabbing hold of her breast and they were kissing each other.”

…Saloni Khanna, director of the crew on flight number IT001, said that at one point she saw Miss Irby sprawled across four seats and added: “Her skirt had risen up to the waist and her underpants were visible. The child had dirtied his diapers and she wasn’t aware. I told the crew to take care of the child. “

After four hours the captain ordered his staff to refuse to serve any more alcohol to Miss Irby.

…Cabin crew director Saloni Khanna said Miss Irby stuck up her middle finger at her. [Defence counsel] Mr Saunders suggested she had just waved her hand, which she rejected.

The prosecutor said Miss Irby repeatedly pushed the button to call members of staff, and at one stage called one of them a “bitch”.

Miss Irby was arrested when the flight landed. A police officer believed that she was still drunk when he attended, the jury heard.

— Rayner, Gordon.  “Drunken socialite ‘stripped to her knickers and cavorted with fellow passenger’ on flight.”  Daily Telegraph, 14 September 2009.

Dirty diapers flung about the cabin?  Screaming child left unattended?  Passengers might be willing to forgive two drunken idiots trying to get it on, but awkwardly getting it on while your kid roams the aisles emitting high-pitched shrieks and visible stink rays?  She’s bloody well lucky to be alive, let alone charged and in custody.

UPDATE: Bystander at The Magistrate’s Blog notes that Miss Irby has been acquitted by a UK court, on the technicality that her moronic drunken behaviour occurred aboard an Indian-registered aircraft outside of UK airspace, thus it lacked jurisdiction.

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2 Responses
  1. Nathan B. says:

    Her child should be removed from her care.

    • Chris Taylor says:

      Alas she is at liberty to be free of pants, sober judgment and good parenting skills, so long as any drunken stupidity occurs outside the airspace of, and not aboard an aircraft registered to, the charging jurisdiction.