Doherty Needles Another Airline

It may seem as nerdy as train-spotting in its way, but there’s evidence suggesting drug-troubled singer-songwriter Pete Doherty is trying to leave a syringe on as many airlines as possible.

He added British Airways to the list June 4, after cabin crew on a flight from London to Geneva alerted Swiss police because they suspected Doherty of taking drugs on the plane. Staff reportedly found him slumped over in a bathroom.

Geneva authorities fined the 30-year-old singer for using drugs, although they haven’t given any more details, but he still made it to Neuchatel in time to play his June 5 slot at the 10,000-capacity Festi’neuch, Neuchatel Openair Festival.

“There was no problem with him. He seemed perfectly normal and did a great show,” said Cyrill Villemin from the festival’s organizing committee. “We were amazed when we read the media reports of what happened because he was fine when he was here.”

The ninth edition of Neuchatel attracted 30,000 fans over four days (June 4-7), having added a day since last year’s event pulled 26,000 in three.

The other acts on the bill included Limp Bizkit, Keziah Jones, Sebastian Sturm & Jin Jin Band, Smoking Orchestra, Junior Tshaka & Awadi, IAM, and Raphaël.

Doherty is believed to have started needling airlines in 2006, when the former member of The Libertines and current Babyshambles frontman caused an Easyjet flight to be held on arrival at Barcelona because he was suspected of taking drugs on the journey from London Gatwick.

A crewmember reportedly found “a syringe hidden in a bin” after staff became suspicious when Doherty spent “an unusual amount of time in the toilet.”

Doherty was found to have no drugs other than the ones his rehabilitation programme prescribed and he was allowed to continue on his way to Spain’s Primavera Festival.

“You simply cannot take syringes on an aircraft without permission and cause a potential hazard to other passengers,” said an airline spokeswoman, explaining that Doherty and his four fellow travelers had been banned from flying Easyjet just the same.

Two weeks later, Doherty was on his way to play Sweden’s Hultsfred Festival when he was arrested again. He was hauled off the Scandinavian Air Services (SAS) plane he was traveling on when it arrived at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport.

“As soon as we took off Doherty began walking around and started arguing with the stewardesses. They told him to sit down and refused to give him any drink,” one unnamed fellow passenger told The Sun.

It seems the pilot was informed soon after the plane was airborne and the cops were waiting for Doherty by the time it landed in Sweden.

He still managed to make it to a sold-out, 30,000-capacity Hultsfred in time to do his slot. In fact he seemed to enjoy Sweden so much he was still there a couple of days later, when he should have been onstage at Switzerland’s Greenfield Festival.