London: Nut case! A mid-air row involving a man wanting more nuts resulted in a flight with 282 people on board from Rome to Chicago being diverted to Ireland's Belfast airport with the estimated cost of the diversion amounting to a whopping 350,000 pounds.
Jeremiah Mathis Thede, 42, from Berkeley, California, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court charged with endangering the safety of an aircraft, disruptive behaviour on board an aircraft and common assault against a female cabin crew member.
Objecting to bail, Constable William Robinson of Belfast International Airport Constabulary said a United Airlines flight from Rome to Chicago was flying north west of Scotland on Saturday when the pilot decided to divert to Belfast because of Thede's behaviour.
The police officer said the pilot had to dump 50,000 litres of fuel so the plane could land safely and the cost of the diversion was between 300,000-350,000 pounds, the Belfast Telegraph reported.
Thede, who was taken off the plane and into custody, appeared in the dock wearing a grey sweatshirt and bottoms.
A prosecutor said she was objecting to bail and the constable told the court how the flight came into Belfast. He said Thede had been disorderly towards cabin crew and 50 minutes into the flight he had got up out of his seat despite a seat belt sign being illuminated. He would not return to his seat "until he was given some nuts or crackers".
The accused was appeased by staff but returned to ask for more snacks and was told he could get some more if there were any left after other passengers got some.
The police officer alleged Thede then said: "I can have as much...nuts or crackers as I want" and the cabin crew member "felt threatened".
When another member of the crew was called Thede was "aggressive" and because of the way the accused "was getting on" by continuously getting up and down and lifting bags and blocking aisles, and at one stage he "squared up", the captain was alerted and the decision taken to land in Belfast.
Thede's "erratic" behaviour prompted the captain to turn round when he was already over the Atlantic, and head back to land Belfast International Airport.
Thede's lawyer said his client denies wrongdoing. He was remanded in custody to appear before the court by video link next week. Many of the 282 passengers spent the night at Belfast airport before flying on to Chicago on Sunday.
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