A few pre-flight drinks can get expensive rather quickly.

But for David Stephen Young, a round of six alcoholic beverages he drank before his flight from Calgary to London prompted a rash of unruly behaviour, culminating in an abrupt turnaround, an arrest and a hefty fine of more than US$16,000 ($23,000).

Young, 44, was ordered by a judge to pay WestJet for 20,000kg of wasted fuel the pilot dumped over Alberta to safely land the aircraft back in Calgary on January 4.

The fine came after he pleaded guilty last week to resisting arrest and failing to comply with safety instructions during the fight, according to USA Today.

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Young, a British national, tried to access the toilet during takeoff and became belligerent with the flight crew and a passenger, the paper said, citing court documents.

Passengers and the crew "were left shaken and threatened by [Young's] behaviour" that was "verbally aggressive," according to the court documents.

Young apologised about the "damage and inconvenience" of his behaviour, USA Today reported. His lawyer did not return a request for comment. WestJet declined to comment.

The actual burden to WestJet could eclipse US$150,000 when including costs such as passenger reimbursement, the paper reported. Provincial Judge Brian Stevenson gave WestJet the option to pursue damages through a civil case. The airline declined to say if it planned to do so.

Young was described as an alcoholic in court, prompting his lawyer Michelle Parhar to seek a lower penalty. He experienced a recent death in the family, according to Canadian Broadcasting Corp., and was in Canada to visit his mother.

The ruling means Young is "essentially barred from entering Canada, barred from seeing his mother," Parhar said.