An American man has been charged after a drunken outburst aboard a plane heading to the U.K., causing a flight diversion to Gander.

The flight departed Chicago on Feb. 15 en route to London, England when 35-year-old Derek Olson became violent and refused to obey the flight crew.

The pilot made the decision to divert the flight to Gander, where RCMP officers arrested and charged Olson with mischief and endangering those aboard.

He pleaded guilty in provincial court Friday morning.

Olson, from Fargo, North Dakota, had a few beers before the flight took off, and then a few more while in the air, along with a sleeping pill.

His defence lawyer said Olson doesn't remember what happened after that.

Olson refused to return to his seat during turbulence and stumbled onto another passenger's lap, becoming angry and violent.

He damaged two seats as crews and passengers handcuffed him.

Judge Bruce Short sentenced Olson to pay almost $48,000 US to cover the cost to American Airlines for the flight stopover.

Short also handed down a $10,000 Cdn fine to Olson, along with a year's probation with the condition not to drink alcohol.

Olson said he has to travel internationally for his job with a computer company, and didn't know how he would repay the money if he lost his job.

Short gave Olson five years to pay the fines.

Olson is in the hands of border security guards to make his way home.