Kiwi who tried to open plane door midway through Auckland to Malaysia flight released from jail with stern warning

A New Zealander who tried to open the emergency door of a commercial jetliner during an international flight at the weekend has avoided a prison term in a Malaysian prison.

Harry Frazer Cranwell, 32, could have faced up to three years behind bars for the incident, but he instead was ordered to pay a $2225 fine and received a stern warning from the judge not to do it again, according to Malaysia’s state news agency.

"I promise, sir," the restaurant manager responded through tears, the agency reports.

Authorities said Cranwell was on a Malaysia Airlines flight from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur when a flight attendant noticed him at the emergency door. He appeared to be intoxicated, having imbibed multiple alcoholic beverages during the flight, authorities said.

Cranwell’s lawyer told the judge yesterday that the two days he spent in jail prior to the hearing - knowing he could face years in prison for a charge of endangering an aircraft and the lives of those on board - really taught him a lesson, the state media agency reports.

Wearing an orange jail jumpsuit as he appeared in court, Cranwell pleaded guilty to the charge and apologised.

He had intended only a stopover in Kuala Lumpur, en route to a holiday in Vietnam, reports Bernama, the state agency.