Mile high Brits fined for jet lust

Two British passengers accused of getting drunk and fondling each other in the business class section of an American Airlines flight from Dallas have been fined a total of £2,250 for their conduct.

Amanda Holt, 37, and David Machin, 40, who did not know each other before boarding Flight AA110 on Oct. 1 for the 8 1/2-journey to Manchester, were convicted of being drunk on board an aircraft. Prosecutors dropped a second charge of outraging public decency.

Holt and Machin, who pleaded guilty, had attracted huge publicity for their conduct, and both were fired from their jobs. They had been returning from business trips to the United States.

Holt, a former telecommunications executive was fined £1,000, and Machin, fined £1,250.

Prosecutors said other passengers complained that Holt and Machin, who were allocated adjacent seats, got drunk, fondled each other, and Holt's blouse and trousers were removed.

When airline attendants asked them to stop, they were dismissive, said prosecutor Philip Curran.

Arrested at Manchester Airport, Machin told police, "We became a little over-familiar, that's all," the prosecutor added.

Passing sentence, Judge Harold Singer said the pair had already suffered from publicity and considerable financial loss.

"We have an offence which caused offence to other passengers but not a danger," the judge added.

Holt, who left the court with her husband, said in a statement that her behavior "was a matter of regret."

Machin, through his lawyer, said his wife and three children had been humiliated and hounded by reporters. He asked for privacy to "rebuild a relationship I nearly threw away through my own drunken stupidity."