Air rage man banned by planes, boats and trains

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The Independent Online
TRAVEL COMPANIES were queuing up yesterday to ban the man accused of attacking an air stewardess on a flight to Spain last Friday. By last night he had been barred by air, sea and rail operators.

Steven Handy, unemployed, from Dover, Kent, is currently on bail in Spain after allegedly attacking an Airtours stewardess, Fiona Weir, with a broken vodka bottle during the flight from Gatwick to Malaga.

Mr Handy is reported to be sleeping on beaches until his next appearance in court where he will face charges of endangering an aircraft and assault. Ms Weir, 31, from Wimbledon in south-west London, needed 18 stitches after the attack.

Even if he were at liberty to travel, Mr Handy's chances of finding anyone willing to take him are rapidly diminishing.

Delegates met at Heathrow yesterday for a one-day UK Flight Safety Committee to consider recommending a nationwide blacklist of disruptive passengers - those convicted of assaults against air crew or endangering flights - which could be used by any flight operator to prevent them boarding aircraft.

Airtours said the lifetime travel ban imposed on Mr Handy by the company had encouraged other airlines to follow suit. A spokesman for the company said: "We approached every major airline in the UK and all Spanish carriers and all our colleagues at those airlines. They are all backing the ban."

Hoverspeed, which operates cross-Channel ferries from Dover to Calais and Ostend and from Folkestone to Boulogne, followed suit and imposed a permanent ban on Mr Handy.

A company spokesman said: "We employ cabin crew and we think it's time to make a stand. We have a duty to our staff to protect them."

Later, as Airtours called on rail companies to join the boycott, Eurotunnel announced it would not take Mr Handy either.

If bus and rail operators decide to join the boycott, Mr Handy may find himself stranded in Spain.

t Tourists whose aircraft careered off a runway after brake failure on landing are suing their holiday company over post-traumatic stress in what they claim is the first case of its kind.

More than 20 passengers on the Manchester to Ibiza night flight on 20 May have so far signed up with a lawyer to claim damages from First Choice Holidays. They allege their experience has left them psychologically scarred.

The company claims adequate counselling was given after the incident.