An Adelaide psychology student who lashed out at flight attendants and fellow passengers on a long-haul flight says he has a fear of flying.
Dominic Kojima Matthews, 26, was charged following a 17-hour Qantas flight from Dallas, in the United States, to Sydney in February.
The Adelaide Magistrates Court heard on Friday Matthews had drunk alcohol and taken sedatives on the trip.
A federal prosecutor said he disrupted other passengers, made a particular passenger feel intimidated and harassed crew members.
He failed to follow directions to return to his seat for the meal service and to stay put when the seatbelt sign was on.
At the end of the flight, federal police officers were called and Matthews was arrested and interviewed.
“Flight crew form an important role in ensuring the safety of all passengers and this type of behaviour hinders their ability to perform their duties,” the prosecutor told the court.
“Of particular concern are the threatening remarks that were made towards one passenger.”
Matthews, of Cumberland Park, pleaded guilty to offensive and disorderly behaviour on an aircraft and failing to comply with instructions on an aircraft.
Defence counsel Michael Dixon asked Magistrate Simon Smart not to record a conviction against his client.
“Mr Matthews is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Psychological Science,” he said.
“He has acknowledged the impact that this behaviour could have on his future career as a clinical psychologist.”
He said, at the time of the offence, Matthews was suffering from anxiety and a phobia of flying.
The maximum penalty for the two offences together is a fine of more than $15,000.
Magistrate Smart adjourned the case, and Matthews will return before the court next month.